Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Exploring Our Ocean

University of Southampton via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


Protect our blue planet and the deep sea creatures we share it with

Would you like to become an ocean explorer and investigate the underwater world existing on our planet? This 4-week course from the University of Southampton will introduce you to the ocean’s wonders.

Discover how our everyday lives are connected to the ocean depths, and learn about the challenges and opportunities that this hidden realm holds for our future.

Map the ocean floor

Understand the history of ocean exploration and start to think beyond the surface and shores. We’ll uncover the real face of our planet and learn how researchers are continuing to discover this vastly unknown entity.

You’ll learn about the beginnings of oceanography as a science and explore a recently mapped section of the sea floor. Moving on to the ocean’s composition, we’ll be thinking about ocean currents, sea temperatures and the enormous quantity of salt in the ocean.

Explore marine life such as the coral reef

In your third week, you’ll find out just how vast and varied marine life is. From the coast to polar environments and the alien world of the ocean’s depths, you’ll discover how life adapts to different habitats.

Glimpse into the diversity of life in the oceans and investigate seagrasses and coral reefs. You’ll learn how whales can be indicators of ocean health and meet creatures lurking in the darkest waters.

Understand how human behaviour impacts our oceans

Finally, we’ll think about the ocean’s future. Gain an understanding of the impact human behaviour has on the sea, including the use of single-use plastics and microbeads.

You’ll learn about the resources available to us on the ocean floor and think about current legislation surrounding the ocean. How can we protect our waters and ultimately save the ocean and its inhabitants?

This course is for anyone interested in the ocean, the creatures that live within it and learning how we can protect it. No previous knowledge is assumed or required, so everyone is welcome to join.


  • A hidden landscape
    • Welcome to the course
    • The history of ocean exploration
    • Modern exploration of the ocean
    • Week 1 summary
  • Mobilis in mobili
    • Our spinning planet
    • The composition of the ocean
    • The combined effects of heat and salt
    • Changes through time
    • Week 2 summary
  • A living soup
    • One ocean, many habitats
    • Living on the edge: Coasts
    • Green marine; sea grasses
    • Coral reefs
    • Polar environments
    • The Open Ocean
    • The Deep
    • Week 3 summary
  • The future of the ocean
    • Our impacts on the ocean
    • A plastic ocean
    • Deep sea mining
    • Ownership and responsibility
    • Just the beginning

Taught by

Jon Copley and Verity Nye


4.0 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 311 ratings

Start your review of Exploring Our Ocean

  • Jaimee Van Der Westhuizen
    The course was good in that it covered both the physical and biological aspects of the ocean. I found it very interesting at first, lost a bit of interest halfway and then picked it up again and continued to enjoy the rest of the course.
    Sometimes the video lectures can be a bit long, but overall I enjoyed this course and feel that it expanded my knowledge on the topic.
  • Akua A Walker
  • Millie B.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.