Marine mammals are known across the world for their beauty and nature and their conservation has become a focus for many. During this beginner course, you will be introduced to historical and modern-day threats facing marine mammals across the world and here in the UK.

The plight of our marine environments and the mammals dwelling there is a key issue of our time. Learn about this important current affair from leading marine conservation experts.

This course has been developed by leading marine experts, ORCA. During this course, you will learn about the important role these animals play within the ecosystem and how humans are now trying to protect them for future generations. By the end of this course, you will have a clear understanding of threats facing marine mammals and the part you can play in their protection

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. Understand how our online courses are delivered.

Who Should Attend?

Nature enthusiasts, Students, Rangers, Early career ecologists.

Knowledge Level

Beginner. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge

Existing knowledge and understanding of basic marine terminology would be beneficial for this course.

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.

What will be covered during this course?

    • Importance of Marine Mammals
    • Threats to Marine Mammals
    • Marine Mammals and Pollution
    • Conservation Strategies

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

    • Describe why marine mammals are important for the whole ocean ecosystem.
    • Identify and explain current threats to marine mammals in the UK.
    • Explain the issues surrounding marine mammals and pollution.
    • Discuss examples of conservation efforts to protect marine mammals around the UK coastline.
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family and fellow volunteers.

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, including online course materials, expert tuition and a flexible learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning about marine mammals with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of the animal kingdom. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

This course is run in association with ORCA, a marine conservation charity that is dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK and European waters.

Please note that bookings will close at 9 am on Monday 31st October to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – bookings will not be taken after this time.*

* Bookings will close sooner if course capacity is reached

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.

    • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course.
    • Each individual needs to place their own order to ensure we can sign you up to the learning platform and give you access to resources.
    • If you have any questions about our online courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions first
    • If your question is still not answered, email [email protected]

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.

    • Discounted rates
    • Privately run courses for your group
    • Bespoke courses developed specifically for your needs

Click here to find out more!

About our partner, ORCA

With their unique take on marine conservation, ORCA is a charity that is entirely dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK and European waters. They work to identify and protect critical whale and dolphin habitats in UK waters and beyond. The identification of important whale and dolphin habitats is carried out by ORCA’s Marine Mammal Survey Teams, who are all volunteers. This is what makes them so unique. It is their own volunteer teams on board ferries and cruise ships in European waters that conduct the monthly scientific surveys, recording the species they see, where they are and what they are doing. Using the data these teams collect, ORCA can help create safer spaces and a safer future for whales and dolphins.

Tutor: Jess Owen

Jess is the Hebrides Wildlife Officer for the marine conservation charity ORCA. Since graduating with a degree in Wildlife and Media she has been working in environmental education roles with a particular focus on marine mammals and birds. She has been surveying marine mammals with ORCA since 2015 in the Bay of Biscay and the Hebrides as has a keen interest in citizen science and connecting people to their local landscapes and wildlife. 

The webinars will take place on the following dates at 6:00 pm (GMT):

    • Thursday 10th November 2022 at 6:00 - 6:45 pm
    • Thursday 17th November 2022 at 6:00 - 6:45 pm
    • Thursday 24th November 2022 at 6:00 - 6:45 pm
    • Thursday 1st December 2022 at 6:00 - 6:45 pm

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

Example Timetable


Week 1: Importance of Marine Mammals
Self-study material available: 03/11/2022
Week 1 live webinar: 10/11/2022 at 6:00 pm

Week 2: Threats to Marine Mammals
Self-study material available: 10/11/2022
Week 2 live webinar: 17/11/2022 at 6:00 pm

Week 3: Marine Mammals and Pollution
Self-study material available: 17/11/2022
Week 3 live webinar: 24/11/2022 at 6:00 pm

Week 4: Conservation Strategies
Self-study material available: 24/11/2022
Week 4 live webinar: 01/12/2022 at 6:00 pm

The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 15/12/2022

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 attending the Zoom session

What's Included

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.

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.

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.

Recommended Equipment

The following is not mandatory but will help you within this course:

    • Hand lens
    • Wildflower Identification guide - Recommended: The Wild Flower Key by Francis Rose or Collins Wildflower Guide by David Streeter

Sorry this course booking is closed