Dive into marine mammal biology and ecology with this introductory online course from marine conservation experts, ORCA. Develop your knowledge, learn something new and connect with experts.

Marine mammals are majestic animals that live and breed around UK coasts. Learn more about the several species of marine mammal the UK is home to, that you may be lucky to see.

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: Anna Bunney

Anna Bunney is the Head of Education for UK marine conservation charity ORCA, and manages the outreach and education parts of ORCA’s programmes. A geographer by training and wildlife conservationist by trade, Anna is particularly fascinated with marine mammals and has a particular soft spot for humpback whales! 

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. 

Tutor: Ashleigh Kitchiner

Ashleigh is a passionate marine biologist and environmental advocate. She is formally educated with a BSc. (Hons) in Biology and a Master of Research in Marine Mammal Genetics from the University of Chester, UK. Since university, she has been able to work in quite a few sectors, from NGOs, private consultancies and as a freelancer implementing marine mammal mitigation during offshore projects. Ashleigh is now a Senior Marine Mammal Consultant and works with many organisations to create marine mammal risk assessments, monitoring survey plans, mitigation protocols and much more. When she’s not busy at work or outside with her binoculars she sits on four committee boards, is a STEM Ambassador and Girl Guide volunteer. Ashleigh has worked and volunteered for ORCA since 2017, when she spent the summer in the the Bay of Biscay inspiring guests about the wildlife around them on their ferry journey - she calls this experience life changing!

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.

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