What's Killing the Coral?

Last updated on Sun, 2014-04-20 02:29. Originally submitted by Jenny on 2011-06-17 16:01.

A WebQuest for 6-8th Grade (Science) Designed by Loris Chen, modified by Jessica Haapkyla 2014-02-05


You are part of a team of specialists whose mission is to determine what is causing a decline in the health of a coral reef. You will learn about the role of coral diseases in this decline. You should plan to study the effect of one method of reversing coral loss. Your team has been invited to make a presentation at an international conference where other teams will be competing for project funding. Will your presentation earn your project funding?

The Task

Since the 1980’s, the records of coral diseases have been increasing and diseases are now considered as a major threat to coral reefs. Over 30 coral diseases are found globally. Biological agents such as bacteria, fungi and viruses or abiotic factors such as elevated seawater temperature and nutrient enrichment may cause coral disease. The biotic and abiotic factors act together leading to disease. Can a change in human activity slow down the loss of the world’s coral reefs? That’s what your team of scientists would like to know.

Your task is to:

  1. Find out what is causing the death of reef-building corals
  2. Investigate methods for reversing the trend
  3. Present a proposal that will increase and sustain coral reef populations so that they do not become extinct

Your presentation must include graphics and visual organizers. Presentations may be in the form of PowerPoint or overhead projector transparencies.

Credits and References

 Follow these links to go to the rest of the lesson

OBIS is a project of:
IODE Sponsored by:
Martin International and Les Grands Explorateurs
With in-kind support from:
Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, Duke University
Universidad Simón Bolívar Flanders Marine Institute

OBIS strives to document the ocean's diversity, distribution and abundance of life. Created by the Census of Marine Life, OBIS is now part of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, under its International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme.