9 hours
7 modules
Purchase this course

Did you know that freshwater consists of only 3% of the water on planet Earth and only 1% of that water is readily available for use for agriculture, drinking, industry, transport and energy, the rest is in glaciers, ground water and the atmosphere. This tiny amount of water is in rivers, lakes, streams, ponds and wetlands and contains 10 times the biodiversity of land and ocean.

This interesting course covers how freshwater systems work, the ecology of the organisms that live in freshwater and the threats to freshwater and what can be done to improve it for people and biodiversity.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the diversity and importance of freshwater habitats
  • Describe the various geomorphological, hydrological, biological and chemical characteristics of these habitats;
  • Display an understanding of freshwater primary productivity and food webs
  • Recognise some of the key organisms in freshwater habitats, their adaptations for survival and their inter relationships;
  • Understand the environmental threats facing freshwaters and the consequences that these have on the global environment;
  • Describe freshwater resource management strategies

At the end of the Course will be a quiz and if you get 70% or more you will receive a Certificate.

Courses modules:

Module 1

Module 1. Key concepts

Module 2

Module 2. Life in Freshwater

Module 3

Module 3. Rivers and streams

Module 4

Module 4. Lakes and ponds

Module 5

Module 5. Wetlands

Module 6

Module 6. Our impact on the freshwater environment

Module 7

Module 7. Approaches to management, conservation & restoration and QUIZ

 Module 1. Key concepts

  • The importance of freshwater ecosystems
  • Geomorphology, hydrology & structure of freshwater ecosystems
  • Physical and chemical characteristics of freshwater

 Module 2. Life in Freshwater

  • Diversity of life in freshwater
  • Aquatic food webs and trophic cascades
  • Factors affecting primary productivity in different freshwater habitats

Module 3. Rivers and streams

  • Physical factors shaping the land and biology
  • Examples of adaptations in physiology and anatomy
  • Habitat differentiation and ecological niches

Module 4. Lakes and ponds

  • Description of lakes and ponds
  • Temperature Cycles & Lake Stratification
  • Nutrient sources
  • Habitat differentiation and ecological niches

Module 5. Wetlands

  • What is a wetland?
  • Adaptations of wetland life
  • Importance of wetlands
  • Case study – Pantanal

 Module 6. Our impact on the freshwater environment 

  • State of our freshwater resources 
  • Major drivers of freshwater biodiversity loss
  1. hydrological alterations (such as dams)
  2. habitat degradation and loss (such as draining wetlands)
  3. pollution (both diffuse and point-source)
  4. overexploitation (such as over-abstraction, overfishing)
  5. invasive species (their impact on habitats and biodiversity)
  6. climate change

Module 7. Approaches to management, conservation & restoration 

  • Emergency Recovery Plan
  • Catchment-based management
  • Freshwater habitat restoration
  • Freshwater species recovery initiatives
  • Ecosystem service approach

Here’s what our students are saying:

Flexibility and easy to follow layout.
The teaching is excellent. It’s clear, precise and easy to follow. The knowledge from Sue is fantastic and it’s taught in a very understandable way with no rush. It’s been really good and I feel I’ve been able to retain the information well because of the way the course has been taught.
Very informative, enjoyed the content!
Thank you for the course, it has been very informative and helpful for me
I liked the course, it was very comprehensive. I’m surprised how much I enjoyed the online elements of the course, I thought I would do better in a face to face course but honestly being able to go at my own pace is really working for me as I can spend time on the bits I find tricky as they come up rather than making a note to look things up later… I like the YouTube videos, being able to pause or even speed up the video to match my pace works well for me. I do feel like I learnt a lot. I would 100% recommend the course to others
Depth of knowledge was excellent.
Useful links, detailed information, great supporting photos


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The final exam is designed to test whether you have learned the appropriate knowledge and skills during this course. If you take the final exam and do not pass, we encourage you to review the course material and ensure you have read, understood and remembered the lessons. We want you to get the most out of this course and provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to apply what you learn to your job or career. You may retake the final test once you have revisited the course material.

Yes! We want you to get as much out of this course as possible. We encourage you to refer back to your course materials from time to time to refresh your memory and ensure that you are confident on the subject. Therefore, when you purchase this course, you will have lifetime access to the course materials.