In this beginner’s online course, you will learn more about the biology and ecology of UK seal species that you may see around our coastline.

By the end, you will appreciate their amazing lives, and start to identify these animals. Explore one of our favourite marine mammals in this 4-week online course, developed and delivered by leading seal conservation experts, Seal Research Trust (SRT).

What is covered in this course?

  • Biology of UK Seals
  • Ecology of UK Seals
  • UK Seal Identification
  • Conservation of UK Seals

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This beginner course is a starting guide to the skills required to begin identifying and observing our native seals in the field. You will learn valuable observational field identification tips, life history characteristics and general ecology of the different seal species found around the British coastline plus some of our more obscure visitors. Participants will also discover the conservation efforts currently in place for UK seals and their importance as ambassadorial species engaging us all with our precious marine habitat.

This level 2 course is next in the series of our Marine Mammal framework and is a perfect progression from our level 1 Discovering Marine Mammals online course.

This is a 4-week online course covering 4 topics, for which you will complete a variety of self-led online resources and activities. Each topic is then concluded with an interactive Zoom workshop to complement the online content. Time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours a week and an E-certificate is provided upon completion

Who Should Attend? – Budding writers, Nature enthusiasts, Students, Rangers, Early career ecologists.

Knowledge Level – Introductory. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge – No existing knowledge or experience is needed for this course. Just a willingness to contribute and learn.

Understand how our online courses are delivered

Live Webinar Information

There are 4 webinars for this course, taking place at the end of each week. Please see the date listing below for the day and time.

Please note – webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the virtual learning platform for learners unable to attend.

About our Partner, Seal Research Trust

Founded by Sue Sayer, in Cornwall 2000, SRT is a multi-award-winning, evidence-based conservation charity coordinating a huge regional network of citizen scientists. Their shared focus is passionately protecting our precious marine species and their environment for future generations to enjoy. Sue’s philosophy is all about ‘sharing our seas successfully’.

About the Tutor

Sue Sayer

Sue is an internationally renowned researcher and author. For over 20 years, she has spent thousands of hours observing seals in the wild from land and at sea in Cornwall. To Sue, there is no such thing as an average seal. Each one looks different, has an individual personality, range of habits and migration route around the Celtic Sea! In 2000, Sue founded the Seal Research Trust in Cornwall.

Example Timetable

Week 1: Biology of UK Seals
Self-study material available from the start date.
Week 1 Live Webinar at the end of week 1

Week 2: Ecology of UK Seals
Self-study material available after week 1 webinar
Week 2 Live Webinar: at the end of week 2

Week 3: UK Seal Identification
Self-study material available after week 2 webinar
Week 3 Live webinar at the end of week 3

Week 4: Conservation of UK Seals
Self-study material available after week 3 webinar
Week 4 Live webinar at the end of week 4

The final deadline to complete any outstanding assignments and self-study components 2 weeks after the final webinar

Time commitment: This course will require approximately 2-3 hours of your time each week. This includes covering course materials on our Moodle learning platform and the Zoom session.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created to help you continue to build and develop your knowledge as the course progresses. With content crafted to the online Moodle Platform and bespoke to the Field Studies Council.

The course includes:

  • 45-minute interactive weekly Zoom workshops to connect with the tutor and other participants
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Activities to work on independently in advance of each Zoom workshop
  • Tailored course completion certificate

Once registered, you will follow well-illustrated, user-friendly ’books’ to pick up knowledge. Quizzes and skill checks will give you instant feedback on your learning. Forums give students the chance to interact with each other as well as a place to share work.

Bursaries and Subsidies

Student Discount

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Before You Attend

Accessing Your Course

  • Once you sign up you’ll receive an email at least 24 hours in advance of the course opening with details of how to access our easy-to-use platform, Moodle.
  • Moodle can be accessed through a browser or an app.
  • Webinars are via Zoom so you won’t need any new software to attend

Recommended Devices

It is recommended that you access your course through a PC or laptop. Please be aware that there will be reduced functionality if you decide to access the course through a tablet or smartphone. The Field Studies Council is unable to email content directly to you.

Opportunities to attend this course

  • Fri 07, June 2024 - Fri 19, July 2024

    The webinars will take place on Fridays 17:30 pm – 18:15 pm on the following dates:

    • Week 1: 14th June 2024
    • Week 2: 21st June 2024
    • Week 3: 28th June 2024
    • Week 4: 5th July 2024

    Sue Sayer
  • Fri 13, September 2024 - Fri 25, October 2024

    The webinars will take place on Fridays 17:30 pm – 18:15 pm on the following dates:

    • Week 1: 20th September 2024
    • Week 2: 27th September 2024
    • Week 3: 4th October 2024
    • Week 4: 11th October 2024

    Sue Sayer

No current dates for this course? Click here to view all the upcoming Natural History courses.

Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, delivered by expert tutors with an approachable learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our online courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions
Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.