Marine mammals have often been a favourite of many nature enthusiasts. Many of these majestic species feed and breed around our shores – dive into their biology and ecology with this course.

This introductory course builds up from an introduction to marine mammal biology and ecology to then beginning to explore their adaptations, feeding and life cycles. You will be introduced to the range of marine mammals which we find globally and also the habitat that they have chosen for their home. We will then focus a little on the species found within the UK. This course will give you the confidence to progress your learning and move on to courses looking more in-depth at specific marine mammal identification.

This is a 3-week course covering 3 topics, for which you will complete a variety of online resources and activities. Each topic is then concluded with an interactive Zoom workshop to complement the content.
More details of dates and time commitments can be found below.

Who Should Attend?

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 explore and learn.

This course brings you the expertise of both FSC and ORCA through the following topics:

    • Introduction to Marine Mammals
    • Adaptations to the Marine Environment
    • Marine Mammal Feeding and Life Cycles

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

    • Explain what a marine mammal is and the variety of species found in UK waters
    • Describe what adaptations marine mammals have to the marine environment, specifically in UK waters.
    • Learners will be able to explain marine mammals’ feeding techniques and life cycles.
    • Share your knowledge with friends, family and fellow volunteers.

This is a training course from the FSC, 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 FSC courses or branch out into other areas of the animal kingdom. The FSC 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 UK and European waters.

Please note that bookings will close at 9 am on 1st February to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – booking 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.
  • Please email [email protected]g 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.

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

Email [email protected] to discuss your options! 

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 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 1:00 pm (BST):

  • Thursday 10th February 6:00-6:45pm
  • Thursday 17th February 6:00-6:45pm
  • Thursday 24th February 6:00-6:45pm

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

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

Week 1: Introduction to Marine Mammals 
Self-study material available: 03/02/2022
Week 1 Live Webinar: 10/02/2022 at 6:00 pm

Week 2: Adaptations to the Marine Environment 
Self-study material available: 10/02/2022
Week 2 Live Webinar: 17/02/2022 at 6:00 pm

Week 3: Marine Mammal Feeding and Life Cycles 
Self-study material available: 17/02/2022
Week 3 Live Webinar: 24/02/2022 at 6:00 pm

The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 10/03/2022.

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 the zoom session


Accrediting Agency


What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

What’s included?

The course has been carefully created to help you constantly build on your knowledge as the course progresses. With content crafted to the online Moodle Platform and bespoke to the FSC. The course includes:

  • 45-minute interactive weekly Zoom workshops to connect with the tutor and other participants.
  • Expert tuition for which the FSC is renowned.
  • Exercises to work on independently in advance of each Zoom workshop.

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. Unique to the FSC, there are also Mindful Moments: a chance to stop, step away from your screen and interact with nature and enjoy a personal moment.

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

Before You Attend

Once you sign up, you'll get an email at least 48 hours in advance of the course opening with details of how to access our easy-to-use platform, Moodle

Webinars are via Zoom, so you won't need any new software to attend.

Please note that bookings will close at 9 am on Tuesday 1st February to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform.