Majestic marine mammals feed and breed around our shores. Dive into their biology and ecology with this course.

During this course, you will be introduced to these animals and the habitat that they have chosen for their home. The course then builds up from an introduction to beginning to explore marine mammals’ adaptations, feeding and life cycles.

Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Eco-Skills Framework and Course Level Descriptors

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.

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 Eco-Skills, 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 the UK and European waters.

Please note that bookings will close at 9 am on Wednesday 29th of September to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – booking will not be taken after this time.

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 are aged 18-25, you are eligible for a £25 discount thanks to the Generation Green project, 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: 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: Ashleigh Kitchiner

Ashleigh completed the Wildlife Officer Placement programme with ORCA in September 2017, across the Bay of Biscay, and it was life-changing! She had always loved the ocean and felt a calling to the marine realm. Upon completing the ORCA placement and the marine mammal surveyor course many doors have opened creating opportunities that ignite that passion and allow Ashleigh to delve further into the fields of research to discover more about the marine environment!
After successfully completing her Masters of RESearch at the University of Chester, Ashleigh now works as an ORCA Cruise Conservationist and a Marine Mammal Observer in the oil and gas industry. Her Masters of Research project was looking at population structure and the genetic health of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) across the UK. To complete this work, she collaborated with a number of stranding schemes across the UK who kindly donated samples with which she completed genetic analysis to reveal genetic diversity, gene flow and population structuring (if any!).

The webinars will take place on the following dates at 1:00 pm (BST):

    • Friday 8th October 2021 at 1:00 - 1:45 pm
    • Friday 15th October 2021 at 1:00 - 1:45 pm
    • Friday 22nd October 2021 at 1:00 - 1:45 pm

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

Example Timetable

Week 1: Introduction to Marine Mammals
Self-study material available: 01/10/2021
Week 1 Live Webinar: 08/10/2021 at 1:00 pm

Week 2: Adaptations to the Marine Environment
Self-study material available: 08/10/2021
Week 2 Live Webinar: 15/10/2021 at 1:00 pm

Week 3: Marine Mammal Feeding and Life Cycles
Self-study material available: 15/10/2021
Week 3 Live Webinar: 22/10/2021 at 1:00 pm

The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 05/11/2021.

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

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.

Bursaries and Subsidies

If you are aged 18-25, you are eligible for a £25 discount thanks to the Generation Green project, click here to find out more.

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 on Wednesday 29th of September at 9 am to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform.