Explore the half of our world covered by deep ocean, and how our lives affect the hidden face of our planet.

60,700 enrolled on this course

An underwater shot of schools of fish
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Discover how you can play a part in the safe keeping of the future of our ocean

What lies in the half of our world covered by water more than two miles deep? How are our everyday lives connected to the ocean depths, and what challenges and opportunities does this previously hidden realm hold for our future?

Meet scientists exploring the ocean from the deepest undersea vents to the chilly waters of the Poles and find how what we now know about the ocean depths is as amazing as the unknown that remains. By taking this course, you will see how the deep ocean is no longer out of reach, and join a global debate about the future of our “blue planet”.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds JON COPLEY: The first astronauts to leave the Earth’s orbit saw our blue planet for the first time. But what lies in the half of our world covered by deep ocean? How do our lives affect it? And what challenges and opportunities does it hold for our future?

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds Join our team of world-class researchers on a mission to explore the hidden face of our world and see our planet as never before. Our scientists at the University of Southampton are exploring the ocean from the deepest undersea vents to the chilly waters of the poles, mapping previously uncharted depths, discovering new species of marine life, and investigating the role of the oceans in how our planet works. Working with the latest underwater technology and colleagues around the world, our team are going deeper, longer, and more often than ever before. And what we now know about the ocean depths is as amazing as the unknown that still remains.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds RACHEL MILLS: Ocean science is as big as the oceans themselves and crucial to our understanding of the planet. In this course, you’ll study the deep oceans, the deep unexplored vast areas of the planet that we’re only just now beginning to understand. We’ll look at the history of ocean exploration, and we’ll look at how the ocean controls the planet itself. By taking what you’ve learned and discussing it with people on the course, with your friends and family, discussing it with your employers, maybe governments, maybe charities, you can take part in a global debate about the future of our oceans and what they mean for this planet.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds The oceans control the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. But the majority of the oceans are not controlled by any national laws. So who does own the oceans? Who owns the deep ocean resources? How are they connected to our everyday lives? And how should we be responsible for their future?

Skip to 2 minutes and 40 seconds [WAVES CRASHING]

What topics will you cover?

  • History of ocean exploration
  • Modern mapping of the ocean
  • The movement of ocean currents
  • The composition of the ocean
  • Ocean biodiversity
  • Characteristics of life in the deep sea
  • Ocean resources and ownership
  • Human impacts on the ocean

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Evaluate the degree to which humans have mapped the ocean and its habitats
  • Identify key controls on seawater composition and circulation
  • Assess the distribution of salt in the ocean
  • Interpret Collector's Curves to estimate numbers of undiscovered new species
  • Explain some adaptations to life in deep ocean habitats
  • Reflect on personal effectiveness in limiting potential impacts on ocean environments

Who is the course for?

Everyone is welcome to take this course, and no previous knowledge is required or assumed.

What do people say about this course?

"Thank you again for that wonderful course.I am even more in love with the ocean now and would like to continue my commitment in marine conservation.I am very keen on hydrothermal vents topic and I will read more about it.Thank you also for all extraordinary additional materials like videos and articles. Cannot wait to participate in more courses like this one."

"Best course ever. I do it often but I always seem to pick up new things. Thought it was my memory, but understandable now I learn the course is regularly updated. Good choice - got to keep your *Star* in top notch condition!"

Who will you learn with?

Former member of Exploring our Oceans team, passionate about ocean literacy and sustainability



Who developed the course?

University of Southampton

Southampton is a place for ambitious people keen to stretch their intellectual abilities and help change the world.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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