MARRES - Level up certification

Upgrade your natural science skills

This training introduces fundamental notions in natural sciences. It is designed for talented students with at least an undergraduate diploma in a non natural science discipline (such as in Economics, Management, Political Science, Law, Communication, Engineering) to apply to a graduate program such as the "Science & Society" track of the MSc. MARRES or simply to (re)discover biology, ecology, chemistry & oceanography.

Duration: recommended to be taken in 3 months (equivalent of 1 full day of work per week during 3 months, pace can be adjusted up and down, starting at any time) – Fully online & asynchronous


The program

Introduction to Oceanography

What is Oceanography?
  • A good start: The basins, history of discoveries, current hot topics, positioning
Geological Oceanography
  • Ocean basins: basins, structure, formation
  • Marine sediments: Lithogenous Sediments / Biogenous Sediments / Other Origins
Physico-chemical Oceanography
  • Marine chemistry: Chemical Properties of Seawater / Sources and Sinks of the Main Chemicals
  • Tides: Lunar Effects / Solar Effects / Earth Complications / Effects on Marine Life
  • Ocean circulation: Generating Forces / Surface Currents / Deep Currents / How to Measure Currents
Biological Oceanography
  • Marine biodiversity & Ecosystems
    Physical template, biological divisions, main ecosystems, marine food webs


Biological discovery 
  • Origin of life, Cell vs Entropy, Philosophical approach
Cell biology
  • Introduction to the microscope
  • Cell structure & function
  • Cell ultrastructure
  • Do you know Mendel?
  • DNA Structure
  • Replication & Profiling
  • Protein Synthesis
  • Genetic Inheritance
Diversity & Classification
  • Bacteria and Archaea
  • Fungi
  • Protozoa & Chromista
  • Plants
  • Animals


Evolution & Behavioral Ecology
  • Evolution, Natural Selection, & Genetics: Evolutionary History / Natural Selection / Genetic Mutations / Genetic Variation
  • Extinctions: Background Extinction Rate / Patterns of Extinction / Causes (Natural and Human) / Sensitive Species
  • Group vs. Individual Selections: Group and Individual Selection Theories / Selfish vs. Altruistic Behavior / Group Living Advantages
Population Ecology
  • Population Dynamics & Resources: Ecological Health / Life Tables / Population Growth Models (Geometric and Logistic) / Carrying Capacity
  • Ecological Efficiency: Photosynthetic Efficiency / Production, Lindemann, Exploitation Efficiency / Temperature Control Cost
  • Species Interactions: Competition, Coexistence, & Mutualism: Concepts, Examples and Numerical Modelling / Optimal Foraging Theory / Parasitism / Defenses /  Numerical Modeling
  • Reproductive Strategies: Mitosis and Meiosis / Ecological Cost of Sex / Third sex? / Reproductive Strategies / Polygyny and Polyandry / Many or Few Offspring? / Clutch Size Control / Territoriality
Community Ecology
  • Changing population through time: Natural fluctuations of ecosystems, Primary and Secondary successions, Climax
  • Biodiversity: Biological diversities, Quantifying biodiversity
  • Conservation: Theory of island biogeography, Habitat fragmentation, Conservation issues


Fundamentals of Chemistry
  • From atoms to molecules: Atoms / molecules / ions / bounds / stochiometry / types of molecules / organic vs inorganic
Chemistry in water
  • Basics of equilibria in aqueous solutions: Oxidation-reduction / Complexation / Solubilization / Precipitation / Acido-basic reactions
  • Acido-basic equilibria: Acid / Base / pH / Buffer
  • Solubilisation & Precipitation equilibria: Dissolution / Precipitation / Equilibrium / Solubility / pH
  • Complexation equilibria: Complexes / Ligands / Geometry / Dissociation constant
  • Oxydo-Reduction equilibria: Redox couple / Nernst equation / Prediction 
Chemistry in Life
  • Introduction to Biochemistry: Biomolecules, metabolism, chemical reactions in life
  • Introduction to Ecophysiology & Ecotoxicology: Life-interacting molecules: endocrine disruptors, metals, inorganic, organic
Chemistry in the Ocean
  • Ocean acidification: pH in the Ocean, carbonate equilibrium, ocean acidification effect

Learning strategy

Each discipline proposes a personalized learning path thanks to learning blocks combining video clips, interactive activities, checkpoints to test knowledge acquisition and assignments. Forums allow students to exchange together and a tutoring is provided by a member of the MARRES team.

The level-up training is a fully asynchronous program that can be taken at any time and at your own pace. Students unlock the activities as they progress through the module. We recommend targeting the spring and early summer period to best prepare the "Science & Society" track

E-learning platform

Like many other international universities, we have chosen Moodle as our primary e-learning platform. All our modules are fully deployed on there: all course documents, activities, workshops, exams, grades...

All our other digital tools are aggregated on Moodle.

Video capsules

The lessons are provided through short video capsules, one video capsule = one topic. These materials are actually more than simple videos. The Panopto platform offers menus by slide, by topic, to search for key words, to adjust the size of the different windows, to take notes synchronized with the video, to engage in a discussion with the other students. Instructors can choose to directly insert external content such as videos and short quizzes for additional interactions.

Online activities

Video capsules alternate with online activities

  • each topic also proposes a checkpoint to assess knowledge acquisition and prepare for the exams.
  • concepts are tested and applied practically with at-home experiments to test the properties of water, by using a tectonic plate simulator to reproduce the formation of oceanic basins, or analytically representing the competition between different animal species to be reintroduced in a reserve
  • journal clubs (read and explain articles through an oral presentation) in Ecology & Oceanography allows to develop the scientific thinking and connect fundamental concepts to present-day research.


Students in the Level Up program are supervised by a member of the MARRES team who monitor personal progression, gives feedback on the activities, and regularly exchanged by email or video chat.