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Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate

Study Ecotourism and learn about marine creatures with this unique Certificate

  • Learn about marine creatures and ecotourism.
  • Study online or by eLearning - study where and when you want.  Fit your studies around your existing work and lifestyle.
  • Your studies are supported by expert tutors - there to help you at any time.


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Become a marine tourism expert. 

This course provides you an in depth insight into ecotourism and marine creatures.

  • Become an expert in marine creatures and use that knowledge as an ecotour tour guide or manager.
  • Improve your job prospects in the ecotourism industry by offering expert knowledge in marine life.
  • Or even set up your own ecotour business.
  • With the elective modules, you can also study what interests you, so perhaps you have considered setting up your own Bed and Breakfast and offering marine tours as well. The options are limitless.

Course Duration: 600 hours of self paced study.



The course comprises 4 Core Modules plus 2 Elective Modules.  Students are required to complete and pass 6 Modules in total.



There are 4 Core Modules, lesson details are shown below.  To access further details, please click on each module:

Marine Studies I

Marine Studies II

Ecotour Management

Ecotourism Tour Guide



Students then choose 2 elective modules from the list below. Please click on each module for more information:

Business Operations

Bed and Breakfast Management

Hotel Management

Wildlife Management

Wildlife Conservation

Marketing Foundations

Event Management

Adventure tourism

At the end of each lesson, there is an assignment to submit to your tutor for marking.  Your tutor is also happy to help with any questions you have about the course.



Marine Studies I

There are 9 lessons in this module:

  1. Marine Ecology Systems
  2. Shallow Waters & Reefs
  3. Shellfish & Crustaceans
  4. Squid, Octopus, and Other Primitive Animals
  5. Fish Part A
  6. Fish Part B
  7. Marine Mammals
  8. Turtles, Sea Snakes and Seabirds
  9. Human Impact on Marine Environments & Fishing



  • Identify characteristics of various marine environments.
  • Discuss the first basic groups of marine animal life.
  • Identify characteristics of various marine environments.
  • Discuss the first basic groups of marine animal life.
  • Describe the range of molluscs and crustaceans in the marine environment and their lifecycles.
  • Describe the biology and ecological significance of Cephalopods and Clupeoids in the marine environment.
  • Describe a range of cartilaginous fish (sharks, rays) and selected bony fish (eels) that inhabit the ocean.
  • Describe selected species and the diversity of marine fish that exists in the world’s oceans.
  • Describe a range of marine mammals.
  • Discuss the presence of marine mammals in the seas and oceans of the world.
  • Describe a range of reptiles and birds that co-habitat with fish in the marine environment.
  • Explain the impact of humans upon marine environments and of selected aspects of commercial fishing.


Marine Studies II

There are 10 lessons in this module:

  1. Introduction and Simple Organisms
  2. Marine Plants
  3. Cnidarians and Worms:
  4. Arthropods
  5. Molluscs
  6. Echinoderms:
  7. Non Bony Fishes:
  8. Bony Fishes I
  9. Bony Fishes II
  10. Marine Mammals and Higher Animals


  • Describe the variety and nature of microscopic animals which occur in marine environments.
  • Describe the variety and nature of a range of different types of marine plants.
  • Describe the variety and nature of a range of different types of cnidarians and marine worms.
  • Describe the variety and nature of arthropods in marine environments.
  • Describe the variety and nature of Molluscs in marine environments.
  • Differentiate between different classes of Echinoderms and selected families within those classes.
  • Describe the shared characteristics and distinguishing features of a selection of different species of non-bony fish.
  • Describe characteristics of bony fish, including anatomy, physiology and behaviour.
  • Differentiate between different families of bony fish.
  • Describe the taxonomic characteristics of groups of marine animals including reptiles, birds and mammals.



  • Draw a table to compare three different phyla of marine protists.
  • Explain the differences between sponges, krill and plankton.
  • Produce a table that compares the characteristics of the three different types of algae.
  • Explain the difference between seaweed and seagrass.
  • How important are marine plants to the survival of marine animals?
  • Explain the distinguishing features of different types of worms.
  • Present a report on research on the Cnidarians.
  • Explain the formation of coral reefs. Why are they considered one of the most biologically productive environments.
  • Explain the advantages of the arthropod’s body structure compared to the structure of the less complex animals studied so far in this course.
  • Research the living environments of one local arthropod and consider how its body structure and feeding mechanism are adapted to its environment.
  • Discuss limitations in lifestyle and behaviour might be imposed by the structure of arthopods.
  • Differentiate between cephalopods, gastropods and bivalves.
  • Describe the feeding and defence mechanisms of two different molluscs.
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the echinoderm’s radially symmetrical body.
  • Describe the feeding, breeding and defence characteristics of echinoderms.
  • Select 3 echinoderms and describe their method of reproduction.
  • Describe the sensory and behavioural adaptations that sharks and rays use for defence and feeding.
  • Discuss whether sharks deserve their reputation as maneaters.
  • Explain the main differences between sharks and rays, and the main benefits to these creatures of these differences.
  • Describe the relationship between a particular kind of lamprey (ideally, one found locally) and its host, considering who benefits and/or who does not, and why.
  • List three families of local bony fish.
  • Briefly describe the biological characteristics of three fish families.
  • Discuss the behavioural characteristics of the three families you researched.
  • Draw and describe the gills of bony fish, and explain their function.
  • Identify families of fish characterised by their habit of sitting perched on their lower fins.
  • Describe special adaptations of fish and other marine organisms that live in the mid to deep zones of the ocean.
  • List the most significant bony fish that occur in your nearest marine waters, and briefly describe their marine environment.
  • Research in detail 1 marine reptile and 2 marine mammals.


Ecotour Management

There are 9 lessons in this module:

  1. Nature and Scope of Ecotourism
  2. Management Issues
  3. Industry Destinations
  4. The Tour Desk/Office
  5. Accommodation Facilities
  6. Catering Facilities
  7. Legal Considerations
  8. Safety
  9. Planning an Ecotourism Activity



  • Describe the scope of ecotourism experiences available.
  • Develop in the learner an awareness of ecotourism destinations in existence and possibilities (in your country).
  • Explain the management and operation of an ecotourism office.
  • Explain the management of ecotourist accommodation facilities including.
  • Identify catering options for different ecotourism activities.
  • Identify legal and statutory requirements for the establishment and operation of an ecotourism enterprise.
  • Identify/establish safety precautions/requirements/procedures for an ecotourism enterprise.
  • Plan for an ecotourism activity.



  • Prepare reviews of six different ecotourism destinations.
  • Contact travel agencies and information centres to research the scope of ecotourism activities available in your area.
  • Contact a range of ecotourism operators to research their concerns for the environment.
  • Determine three examples of ecotourism activities that have had undesirable social or environmental impacts.
  • Report on the relevance of indigenous culture to ecotourism in your locality.
  • Carry out research into desirable ecotourism destinations.
  • Identify potential ecotourism activities in your locality.
  • Observe the administrative operations of an existing ecotourism venture.
  • Establish administrative procedures for your own hypothetical ecotourism enterprise.
  • Inspect an ecotourism accommodation facility.
  • Research the statutory/legislative requirements for setting up ecotourism accommodation in your locality.
  • Determine suitable layout for an ecotourism accommodation facility.
  • Visit at least two suppliers of outdoor/recreation camping and cooking equipment.
  • Contact your local health department or similar to find out causes of food poisoning and how it can be prevented.
  • Make contact with several local ecotourism associations to research membership requirements.
  • Research law and regulations in your state that may affect the operation of an ecotourism enterprise.
  • Contact at least two insurance brokers for their recommendations on the type of insurance needed for a proposed ecotourism activity.
  • Research safety notification requirements in a natural area.
  • Interview someone who has been involved in the planning and/or delivery of an ecotourism activity.


Ecotourism Tour Guide

There are 10 lessons in this module:

  1. Ecotourism Basics
  2. Interpretive Services in Ecotourism
  3. Ecology and Conservation
  4. Plant and Animal Classification and Identification
  5. Geology/Geomorphology
  6. Interpreting Aquatic Environments
  7. Interpreting Land Environments
  8. Planning an Ecotour
  9. Ecotour Displays
  10. Leading an Ecotour



  • Develop an ability to analyse the structure of interpretive ecotourism in your country.
  • Recognise factors of the environment and their significance to ecotourism.
  • Plan an ecotour.
  • Create/develop interpretation aids for a selected ecotourism activity.
  • Develop a display with an ecotourism theme.
  • Determine the specific name of a range of natural features in a selected wilderness area including.
  • Lead an interpretive tour with an ecotourism theme.
  • Develop innovative concepts in interpretation for a selected aquatic ecotourism activity.
  • Develop innovative concepts in interpretation for a selected ecotourism activity in a land environment.
  • Determine the specific name of a range of natural features in a selected wilderness area including, where appropriate.



  • Prepare identification sheets, containing a preserved specimen, a photograph or a drawing; together with a description of the species/type of organism.
  • You will research the legal and administrative background required to set up an ecotourism venture in your area. You will also look at the marketing and advertising possibilities for this venture.
  • Visit a number of interpretive ecotourism facilities.
  • Prepare an interpretive activities sheet for an ecotourism group.
  • Visit a natural area and classify organisms sighted in a set time period.
  • Identify points of interest in a natural area for an ecotourism group.
  • Research the lifecycles of a number of plants and animals.
  • Design a range of ecotours for ecotourists interested in various natural phenomena.
  • Visit an aquatic environment and make observations on the organisms there and any pollution present.
  • Identify potential ecotourism activities for a marine area.
  • Develop interpretive techniques for minimal environmental impact.
  • Attend an ecotour to assess the quantity and quality of information provided.
  • Plan an ecotour including the destination, accommodation, transport, catering.
  • Construct an ecotour display.
  • Plan and lead an ecotour to a group of ecotourists or acquaintances.



To complete the course, you are required to complete assignments and exams.

There are assignments at the end of each lesson to submit to your tutor for marking. For example, Ecotourism Tour Guide has ten lessons, so there are ten assignments.

Your tutor is also happy to help with any questions you may have during the course.

There is also an exam at the end of each module, so six in total. Exams can be taken at a time and location to suit you.



This course offers you a great opportunity to become an ecotour and marine creatures expert. The sky is the limit as to what you can do with this course. You can start the course at any time to suit you, so why not get started and enrol today!





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Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce (animal)B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.
Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.

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