Certificate in Marine Studies

Study marine biology online. Learn about fish, crustaceans, marine mammals and other marine life; their environments, management and conservation.

Course Code: VEN014
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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GET STARTED ON YOUR MARINE BIOLOGY CAREER!

 If you love marine life and fish, you should study this certificate!

The opportunities for people who know about marine biology are endless.

  • Start a business or get a job
  • Follow your dreams of working in Marine Biology
  • 600 hour course
  • Broad based, solid foundation in Marine Science & Commerce
  • For people working or wishing to work in marine conservation, eco tourism, research or commerce

This course covers topics such as marine studies I & II, Earth Science and allows the student to investigate areas of special interest to them via research projects.


Modules

Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Marine Studies.
 Marine Studies I BEN103
 Earth Science BEN204
 Marine Studies II BEN203
 
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 9 modules.
 Aquarium Management BEN105
 Research Project I BGN102
 Workshop I BGN103
 Invertebrate Animals BEN218
 Mariculture - Marine Aquaculture BAG220
 Research Project II BGN201
 Workshop II BGN203
 Ecotourism Tour Guide Course BTR301
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
 

Note that each module in the Certificate in Marine Studies is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


What's covered by the Core Modules?

 MARINE STUDIES I

This module has 9 lessons as follows:

  1. Marine Ecology Systems
    Ecology, Marine Weather (including El Nino, Thermocline, Gulf streams, etc), Continental shelf, Nutrient cycle, Red tide, Plankton, Marine Plants (including Mangroves, Shallow & Deep water algae, etc)
  2. Shallow Waters & Reefs
    Coral Reefs, Rocky Shorelines, Estuaries, Introduction to marine arthropods
  3. Shellfish & Crustaceans
    Molluscs and Brachiopods. True Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Lobsters, Prawns etc
  4. Squid, Octopus, and Other Primitive Animals
    (Cephalopods and Clupeoids, etc)
  5. Fish Part A
    (Cartilaginous Fish) Sharks, Eels, Rays; Shark Life cycle, How dangerous are sharks? Effect of sharks on tourism, etc.
  6. Fish Part B
    (Bony Fish) Fish Anatomy/structure (identifying external & internal parts); legalities (protection of wildlife), types of fish, etc
  7. Marine Mammals
    (Dolphins, Whales, etc) Types of marine mammals, protection and politics, position of these animals in the food chain, products derived from marine mammals & substitutes for those products.
  8. Turtles, Sea Snakes and Seabirds
    Types of turtles & sea snakes; toxicity of sea snakes; turtle protection, penguins and other sea birds (eg stints, knots, pelicans, swans, gulls, eagles, ibis, egrets, terns, shearwaters, gannets, albatross, prions, oyster-catchers and petrels).
  9. Human Impact on Marine Environments & Fishing
    Human impact on marine environments; commercial vs recreational fishing, significance of certain mesopelagic fish, techniques for managing stocks of fish & other marine life.

 MARINE STUDIES II

There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction and Simple Organisms (Protists, Sponges etc)
  2. Marine Plants
  3. Cnidarians and Worms: Anemones, Jellyfish, Crustaceans, Flatworms
  4. Arthropods
  5. Molluscs
  6. Echinoderms: Starfish, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers
  7. Non-Bony Fishes: Lampreys, Hagfishes, Sharks, Rays
  8. Bony Fishes I
  9. Bony Fishes II
  10. Marine Mammals

EARTH SCIENCE

There are 9 lessons as follows:

  1. Structure and Forces - including plate tectonics and volcanoes
  2. Rocks and Minerals - this lesson also looks at the formation and features of rocks and minerals
  3. Surface Changes - erosion, weathering and surface waters
  4. The Oceans - this lesson covers examines waves, seawater, tides and the corriolis effect
  5. Air and Weather - the structure of the atmosphere, seasons,solar radiation and meteorology
  6. The Greenhouse Effect - also including the ozone layer and atmospheric pollutants
  7. Global Weather Patterns - looks at climate and climate classification
  8. Geological Time - relative dating, radiocarbon dating, fossils and more
  9. Modern Environmental Issues

 

Complement Your Studies and Increase Employability

We suggest that our Marine Studies students who are looking for employment gain additional qualifications such as an Open Water Divers Licence and a Coxswains (or similar boating) Licence, as they will then be better positioned to gain employment in this competitive field.

If you want to discuss possible career paths, use our free career and course counselling service, and talk with an experienced academic. click here

Marine Environments Need Management

A marine ecosystem is based on the same principles that apply to any ecosystem. Water quality is as important as air quality as this is the abiotic component by which most marine organisms (apart from marine mammals) obtain oxygen. In some respects a marine environment is more fragile because of this very factor. However, large marine systems have the ability to dilute impurities such as toxic chemicals or suspended solids. The smaller the marine system (i.e. tidal pools or estuaries), the more susceptible it is to disturbance.

Marine ecosystems are often complex and dynamic environments in which many organisms are involved in many intricate and often totally unobvious relationships. It is due to this complex web and fragility that marine ecosystems can be subject to sudden and dramatic consequences as a result of changing environmental conditions. A prime example of this is the collapse of certain fishing industries due to a lack of efficient control over the fishing quota and practices. Overfishing of a certain species can be expected to produce this result, however there are instances of seemingly totally unrelated species being affected by the exploitation of another species.

Fishing communities who are reliant on the productivity of these environments can also be adversely affected by the depletion of stocks. The economies of countries such as Peru and Newfoundland have been reliant on the income generated from their coastal fisheries. Over-exploitation of these systems in response to the growing demand for fish stocks, places huge pressures on the sustainability of these systems to endure such demands.

Another example (and putting coral reefs at very high risk of being destroyed in the 21st Century) is the consistent rise of global warming and its known effects on coral bleaching. Over the past one hundred years, the temperature of sea water in many tropical areas has been rising. Rising water temperatures block the photosynthetic reaction that converts carbon dioxide into sugar (a process carried out by the zooxanthellae – the microscopic algae that reside within the corals). The result is a build-up of products that poison the zooxanthellae. To save itself, the coral expels the zooxanthellae and some of its own tissue, leaving the coral a bleached white. The bleached coral can recover, but only if cooler water temperatures return and the algae are able to grow again. This is an incredibly slow process however, and the rate of destruction of the reefs is far quicker than the recovery rate.

The limitations that marine environments present to humans have made the progression of knowledge and insight through research a slow process. Our knowledge of marine ecology is still quite limited; there are places within the ocean that have never been visited by humans due to our own technical limitations. However, there has been a marked increase in research and discoveries in the last century due to technological advancement. It is, apart from space, the last frontier.

Physical Characteristics of Water

  • Temperature -The degree of intensity of heat of a body in relation to other bodies, measured in degrees Celsius(C)
  • Salinity The concentration of salts contained in a given volume of water. Measured in grams of salt per kilogram of water, or more simply in units of parts per thousand
  • Water Density The quantity of mass of water per unit volume. This is measured in grams per unit centimetre
Temperature

The surface temperature of the oceans is constantly variable. Water in the tropical oceans may have a temperature of 28 degrees Celsius, or higher at the height of summer. In the Polar Regions, sea temperatures of -2 degrees Celsius are common. Unlike freshwater that freezes at 0 degrees Celsius, seawater freezes at an even lower temperature, dependent upon the salt content of the water.

Salinity

The average salinity of sea water is approximately 3.5%, or 35 parts per thousand. In the open ocean, away from major rivers, melting ice and areas such as the bottom of the Red Sea, salinities will be higher than coastal areas (and especially so compared to river mouths).

Salinity is tested by measuring the electrical conductivity of a sample at known temperatures. Oceanographers often use instruments known as CTD's (Conductivity/Temperature/Depth probes). These instruments can obtain accurate profiles or continuous records of temperatures and salinity through the column of water from the surface to the sea bottom.

There are a few reasons for variations in the salinity of sea water.

  • Evaporation and freezing: both processes result in an increase in the salinity of the remaining or underlying water
  • High rainfall – reduces salinity
  • River runoff – reduces salinity
  • Melting of ice – reduces salinity
Water Density

The density at the sea surface is normally 1,025 grams per cubic centimetre. The lighter water floats on the denser water, or, density increases with depth.

It is normal for cold water to be denser than warm water. In hot water, the molecules are bouncing off each other more vigorously, and need more space than in cold water - the result is that you have fewer molecules per unit volume in something hot than in something cold. In the sea, temperature decreases with depth (due to high pressures and the lack of sun penetration).

Fresh water reaches its maximum density at 4 degrees Celsius, but sea water is most dense just before it reaches its freezing point at -2 degrees Celsius.
The reason for measuring the temperature of the sea is because most life forms are physiologically adapted to living within specific temperature ranges. The measuring of salinity is less clear, but is related to the density of seawater being dependent upon salinity levels, temperature and pressure.

The measure of density distribution is important to the oceanographer. It is from density distribution that direction and speed of horizontal fluid movement and the position of the atmospheric pressure required by the meteorologists can be determined. They can then monitor and predict the movement of atmospheric pressure and fronts. Except surface water where the temperature and salinity can vary within a wide range, most oceans have a close relationship between temperature and salinity. 
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Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.

Principal John Mason has been honoured to be awarded a Fellow of Parks and Leisure Australia, having been an active member since 1974.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

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We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).


What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
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You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


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Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

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We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand

Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager.
Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Di

Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability.
Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and develop





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Robert Browne

B.Sc., PhD

Robert’s science employment has included consultancy with biotechnology corporations and in response to the global biodiversity conservation crisis, and has focused on amphibian conservation and sustainability. Working with zoos in Australia, the USA, Europe, and as Research Officer for the IUCN has led Robert to work with collaborative conservation programs in the USA, Peoples Republic of China, Australia, Russian Federation, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Cameroon.

Robert has experience in a wide range of research fields supporting herpetological conservation and environmental sustainability. He has published in the scientific fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design. In addition to his work in research and other international projects for the conservation of amphibians, other vertebrates, and invertebrates, Robert is establishing a sustainability project with a research facility based in the region of a coastal village in Belize.

Megan Cox

Megan has completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Conservation) with Honours from Writtle University College, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Countryside Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her experience includes working as a Botanist, Ecologist, Head Gardener, Market Gardener and a Farming and Conservation Officer.

She has worked in various roles in Horticulture, Agriculture and Ecology since 2005. Megan has worked for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Centre for Environment and Rural Affairs among other organisations in the UK, as well as in Australia and Cambodia.

Sarah Pirecki

BAnVetBioSc., Dip. ProjMgt (TBC).

A passionate advocate for animal health and welfare. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience majoring in Animal Health and Disease and is currently completing a Diploma of Project Management. She has a wide range of experience working in agricultural settings, veterinary nursing, assistance dog raising, and animal education.

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