Education & Awareness

 Marine Sciences




Marine Biobasics: Introduction to Marine Biology (Grade 11+)


Marine Biobasics is a short course in the fundamentals of Marine Sciences, based on the South African high school curriculum. This course is suitable for learners in Grade 11 and matric, as well as adults. This is a hybrid offering, with online lessons from Grade 11s and older, and in-person attendance classes available for Grade 11 learners.

Marine Biobasics Course details:

Dates: 28 March to 1 April 2022
Time: 09h00 to 15h00 daily
Format: In-person at the Two Oceans Aquarium or online. Select at checkout.
Closing date for applications: 11 March 2022
Cost: R800 per attendee (Note: Sponsored positions are available for Grade 11 learners in Cape Town, apply below)

Grade 11 learners who wish to apply to attend the course in-person in Cape Town free of charge, must submit a 350-500 word letter of motivation and their November 2021 report card to in addition to completing the application form below. The motivation letter should focus on your career aspirations, connection to the ocean, what you see to gain by attending the course, and interest in marine science. Application submission is not a guarantee of placement.

Course synopsis - from the teacher

 If you feel you are ready for a slightly more detailed introduction into Marine Biology, the Marine Biobasics course is perfect for you. This will be a comprehensive look at most of the marine animal phyla, from single-celled protists, all the way to mammals and an overview of marine algae, seaweeds and plants. This will be based on the newly launched South African high school subject- Marine Sciences, which was entirely compiled by Aquarium staff.

Participants in-person at the Aquarium will have a combination of in-person and virtual presentations in the Aquarium’s Discovery Centres, with live animals and plant samples to view and engage with, while online participants will have the same presentations and a live video feed of the practical activities.

Sessions will build progressively from the simplest animals through to the most complex, thus enabling participants to build their biological knowledge and terminology in manageable steps. Participants at a senior high school or first year level will find this a useful bridging course to tertiary marine biology. Anyone keen to expand their knowledge about ocean habitats and inhabitants will gain a good grounding in the founding principles and terminology of marine biology, thus giving them access to more advanced publications.

The broad overview of the entire marine animal kingdom and photographic references to examples from the South African coastline (in particular), as well as hands-on interactions with some of them, will allow participants to be able to identify almost any marine animal to, at least, the phylum and, more often, class level. This will enable aspirant animal identifiers to accurately home in on a particular animal (or plant) far more quickly, when using marine guides.

The animals studied would, of course, not survive very long without a food chain to sustain them. Almost all marine food chains start with photosynthesis, and so the course also introduces the marine photosynthesisers – phytoplankton, seaweeds and the few vascular plants found in estuaries and mangrove swamps. Although seaweeds are far more difficult to tell apart, this course will provide the basic principles needed to narrow down their identification, as well.

Detailed, illustrated notes and longer video clips will be available on our online platform. In-person participants at the Aquarium will be asked to write short pre- and post-tests, as well as a final essay. Online participants can opt to write the final essay, in order to upgrade their certificate of participation to a certificate of merit.

This is your opportunity to become better informed about Marine Biology and to be able to start learning the language of this exciting subject. If you intend studying further in Marine Sciences at a tertiary level, this course will be a good foundation. If your future plans are not necessarily directed towards Marine Sciences, you will become more Ocean-literate and able to appreciate our marine resources; also able to make informed decisions and promote better understanding in matters relating to our immediate and global marine environments.


Application form:

Participant's details

Note: In-person course attendance takes place at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town, South Africa

Additional details

If the participant is a minor, under the age of 18, please complete this section.

If yes, please note that applicants will need to submit a 350-500 letter of motivation and their November 2021 school report card to for consideration. Sponsorship is not guaranteed.

Please remember to complete payment for your course below. If you are applying for sponsorship, you can skip this step. Please contact for any queries.