Marine Megafauna: Introduction to Marine Science and Conservation

This course is about sea turtles, whales, dolphins, seals, penguins, sharks, giant squid and other large ocean creatures – collectively known as marine megafauna – and what they can tell us about how the ocean works and why it is so important for all life on earth.

This course helps students learn about life in the ocean, how ocean ecosystems function, how scientists study the ocean, and the challenges we face in sustaining healthy oceans for the future. These topics are explored using case studies that focus on charismatic marine megafauna species – the most compelling creatures in the ocean that capture our attention and inspire us to learn more.


  • Included extensive video of marine fauna from instructor’s field research.
  • Worked with the Public Library of Science (PLoS) to curate and make available peer-reviewed research articles for students in the course.
  • Conducting a study of whether MOOC students change their attitudes toward environmental conservation after the course.

Media & Publications:



  • Nicholas School of the Environment

Project Uses:


Launch Date:

  • February 2014