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Life Below Water: Conservation, Current Issues, Possible Solutions

University of the Sunshine Coast via FutureLearn


Develop knowledge and research skills in marine conservation

It is widely accepted that the phenomenal biodiversity within underwater ecosystems and habitats has been very negatively affected by human interaction.

The exact nature and course of the damage, and what can be done about it, are not as clearly understood. This four-week course by the University of the Sunshine Coast aims to change that.

You’ll develop research and analytic skills, gaining insights into how to measure and minimise human impact on marine life. Ultimately, you’ll learn how to preserve underwater biodiversity and better protect aquatic animals.

Explore marine biodiversity and aquatic ecology

On this course, you’ll take a deep dive into the ecosystems found below the water’s surface. You’ll also be introduced to the form, function, and evolution of aquatic animals.

As you learn what types of species exist, and how they have adapted to survive, you’ll gain greater insights into how to ensure animal conservation in these environments.

Gain a deeper understanding of the environmental impact of humans

In addition to natural aquatic ecology you’ll examine how human behaviour exacerbates climate change, and the effects that climate change has on underwater fauna and flora.

With an understanding of the threats to marine life, you’ll then take a look at new developments in marine science, and how this is leading to solutions to human impact.

Enjoy world-class education with the University of the Sunshine Coast

Throughout the course, you’ll be guided by the specialists at the University of the Sunshine Coast and learn from ecology experts to help develop your skills, confidence, and knowledge in marine conservation.

The University has ranked 3rd Place on The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for life underwater, and 5th on life on land.

This course is designed for anyone interested in the ecology and conservation of aquatic animals. The knowledge gained can be used to pursue opportunities outside environmentalism, in diverse fields such as business, education, finance, and eco-tourism.


  • Biodiversity and Ecology
    • Welcome to Life Below Water
    • Introduction to Week 1
    • Marine vertebrates
    • Coral reef diversity
    • Mangroves and Estuaries
    • Underwater forests
    • Freshwater habitats
    • Checking your understanding
  • Form, Function and Evolution
    • Introduction to week 2
    • Diving animals
    • Shark reproduction
    • Crocodile movement ecology
    • Size and shape in water
    • Why do fish have different faces?
    • Checking your understanding
  • Human impacts including climate change
    • Introduction to week 3
    • Aquatic invasive species
    • Plastic pollution in our oceans
    • Marine species on the move – range shifts in the global ocean
    • Coastal urbanisation
    • Marine predators as climate sentinels
    • Checking your understanding
  • Showcasing solutions
    • Introduction to Week 4
    • Methane-busting seaweed for cows
    • Mapping underwater environments
    • Citizen scientists save the day
    • Shellfish reef restoration
    • Eating our way to heathier oceans
    • Checking your understanding
    • Final thank you

Taught by

Christofer Clemente


4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 24 ratings

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