Tag Archives: marine animals

What is Endangered Species Day?

Endangered Species Day is celebrated on the third Friday of May each year to focus minds on education and taking action to protect threatened species. It is happening on 20 May 2022 and is the perfect opportunity to focus on the topic of human impact in schools. Discussing issues that are close to home is often a great way to bring learning to life. Read on to find out about Australia’s endangered species and for some great ideas for activities in the classroom and on the coast.

Threatened Australian Marine Species

Australia is home to an incredible diversity of marine species. Unfortunately, today a number of Australia’s marine species are registered as threatened and in need of protection. Understanding these threats is the key to inspiring action to protect them, so educating school-aged students (plus the general population!) is crucial.


The following Australian marine species are threatened:

Australian sea lions, dugongs, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, blue fin tuna, whales & sawfish as well as leatherback, loggerhead and the olive ridley turtle.

Threats to Marine Animals

The main threats to marine animals come from humans in the form of:

  • Ocean noise
  • Ship strikes
  • Climate change
  • Entanglement in fishing gear
  • Plastics and ocean debris
  • Over-fishing
  • Irresponsible fishing practices

How Can You Protect Marine Animals?

If we look at these threats one by one, it is interesting to note that as individuals we can actually make a difference to all of them. Take ocean noise and ship strikes, we can ensure that when we travel the ocean we do so with competent crew or that if we are the crew, we are mindful of the threats we may pose and take steps to respect the marine environment to the best of our ability. By reducing our unnecessary carbon and single use plastic usage, we can contribute to reducing that threat. As for stray fishing gear and irresponsible practices, we can vote with our feet and try and ensure that we buy seafood that is caught in a responsible manner and pick up any debris we see on the beach or in our waterways. With a little effort from us all, we can make a difference and protect marine animals.

Endangered or Threatened Species?

A threatened species is defined as any plant or animal species that is at risk of extinction. In Queensland, threatened species are classified under the following classes:

Extinct, Extinct in the wild, Critically endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable

Therefore, endangered species means threatened species!

Activities for Endangered Species Day

  • Read an article or book about an endangered species; discuss why it’s endangered and examine ideas to help protect it
  • Go on a beach walk and discuss habitats, human impact and how marine animals rely on a healthy environment to survive. Ocean Life Education would be happy to guide a tour for your students.
  • Have a class discussion about plastic usage and get the class to focus on their own usage using our free resources (click image for more downloadable activities)


  • Schedule an Ocean Life Education incursion focusing on endangered species, why they are endangered, what is being done to help, and how our everyday actions make a difference.
  • Here is an outline of our Human Impact incursion. Click the images to find out more…



Incursion: Human Impact – The Earth Under Threat

Our conservation & pollution messages influence how students care for the marine environment in their daily lives.

Students will:

*Learn what humans do can harm the marine environment

*Identify how changes to the marine environment; like weather patterns, land clearing, over-fishing and pollution, affect all life

*Realise individuals can make a difference in caring for the marine environment


Further Reading

Free Ocean Life Education Resources and Activities

Endangered Species Resources and Curriculum Ideas

Shark Resources & Threats


How to become a Marine Biologist in Queensland

Interested in the ocean but not sure how to turn that interest in to a career you’ll love. Read on to find out all you need to know about how to become a marine biologist in Queensland…

What is Marine Biology?

Marine biology is the study of ocean life – organisms and ecosystems in saltwater environments. Marine Biologists study interactions between marine plants, marine animals and coastal areas and the atmosphere. Marine biology is a broad term which includes many specialisations.

What does a Marine Biologist do?

Marine Biologists are research based, so research projects are the main focus (as well as ocean education). These involve collecting specimens at sea, compiling research data, and laboratory-based experiments. Research areas may include human impact on reef systems, migration patterns and the underwater ecosystem.

Where could I work as a Marine Biologist?

Marine Biologists can work in many research and education specialisations. These include conservation and marine parks, fisheries and the fishing industry, planning and management, universities, museums, marine science institutions, power generation (sustainable please!), engineering and consulting government and industry.

Key responsibilities of a Marine Biologist:

  • Developing, planning and carrying out experiments
  • Operating tracking technology, fishing nets, sonar and remotely operated vehicles.
  • Using specialist computer software to aid data interpretation
  • Writing research papers and reports.

Skills Required to Become a Marine Biologist

  • Patience and determination
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Finding solutions to challenges whilst out on the ocean – sea legs required!
  • Practical skills – boat handling, scuba diving and first aid knowledge
  • Thorough attention to detail
  • Team working and interpersonal skills

Research Skills for a Career in Marine Biology

Marine Biologists must be able to conduct successful research and complete a literature review, plan a research question, design the study, collect and analyse data and accurately publish results.

Teamwork & a Career in Marine Biology

Marine Biologists rarely work alone. So, they need to be able to work as part of a team and communicate well with everyone. Communication and coordination are key attributes.

Observation Skills for Marine Biologists

Marine Biologists spend extended periods of time observing and studying ocean life. Therefore, they need a passion for this in order to generate new ideas for research and understandings about how sea life works.

Analytical Skills for a Career in Marine Biology

Excellent research means analysing in a new or insightful manner so Marine Biologists need to be able to decide which analytic methods would prove most useful to a particular set of data.

Qualifications required to Become a Marine Biologist

A degree in marine science, biology, geology, ecology, oceanography or zoology is usually required, followed by a Masters to work in a research position. Many marine biologists collaborate with universities and also teach when not out working on research projects in the field, whilst others work for consultancies, coastal authorities, charities and aquariums.

Where can I study for a career in Marine Biology in Queensland?

You can study for a career in marine biology in the following universities in Queensland:

Check out some of our inspiring programs and courses to start getting the knowledge:

Online courses – Amazing Sharks & Humpback Whales

Shark Resources

Marine Biologist for A Day