• Marine EcoSystems Awareness Diver

Marine EcoSystems Awareness Diver

Divers have a vested interest in protecting the marine environment. In many cases, divers do not have environmental information about local sites. This specialty is designed to increase the open water diver’s understanding of marine and freshwater environments, the problems facing these unique ecosystems, and the role that diver’s play in protecting our marine resources.

Starting from

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Who this course is for:

    The certified diver looking for more information to about the underwater world and the impact of divers as well as others have on the environment. How we can preserve the underwater world for generations to come

Course prerequisites:

  • SDI Open Water Scuba Diver, SDI Junior Open Water Diver, or equivalent
  • Minimum age 18, 10 with parental consent

    What you can expect to learn:

The SDI Marine Eco Systems Awareness Diver course takes an in-depth look at all of the following and more:

Physical attributes

  • Temperature and thermoclines
  • Salinity and halocline
  • Dissolved gases
  • Light, as it applies to photosynthesis
  • Nutrient circulation
  • Waves and tides
  • Currents and nutrient cycling

Topographical features

Marine organisms

  • Plankton
  • Aquatic plants
  • Aquatic animals
  • Specific local animals
  • Aquatic food webs
  • Behavioral changes due to daily cycle


  • Tropical reef
  • Temperate
  • Freshwater

Environmentally friendly diving techniques

  • Buoyancy control
  • Kick technique
  • Local considerations

Issues facing marine ecosystems

  • Issues of local interest
  • Global habitat destruction and pollution
  • Over fishing

Coral bleaching

Diver animal interactions

  • Intrusive
  • Non-intrusive
  • Feeding
  • Treating marine life injuries

Observation Techniques

  • Grids
  • Passive observation

Collection Methods

Some of the required skills you will have to demonstrate include:

At various sites complete the following:

Maintain good buoyancy control

Make general observations

  • Location
  • Bottom composition
  • Marine life
  • Special characteristics
  • Indications of human impact

Grid observations

  • Make two separate sets of grid observations during each dive
  • Describe all marine life for later identification
  • Record behavior
  • Log Dives

Compare and contrast the dive sites

Discuss the effect of human impacts

Discuss ways to minimize human impact

What’s in it for you?

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates may engage in diving activities without direct supervision of the SDI Instructor* so long as the following limits are adhered to:

  • The diving activities approximate those of training
  • The areas of activities approximate those of training
  • Environmental conditions approximate those of training

*Note: Junior divers (ages 10-14) must participate in diving activities with a parent, guardian, or dive professional.

SDI Marine Eco Systems Diver minimum requirements:

  • Complete all open water requirements efficiently
  • Demonstrate mature and sound judgment concerning dive planning and execution

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