A WebQuest for 6-8th Grade (Science) Designed by Loris Chen
You are part of a team of specialists whose mission is to determine what is causing an increase in diseases and death among reef-building corals. 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?
Since the 1980’s, diseases of reef-building corals have been increasing and are causing widespread death of important species of stony corals. Some of the diseases may be related to biological agents such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoans. Other coral diseases may be a response to changes in abiotic factors such as changes in sea temperature, ultraviolet radiation levels, and sedimentation. Could the biological factors actually be aided by changes in abiotic conditions? 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:
- Find out what is causing the death of reef-building corals
- Investigate methods for reversing the trend
- 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
- Major Reef-building Coral Diseases, NOAA CoRIS webpage http://coris.noaa.gov/about/diseases/
- Coral Reef Biology, NOAA CoRIS webpage http://coris.noaa.gov/about/biology/
- Why Are Coral Reefs So Important?, NOAA webpage http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/foundations/coral/side.html
- Hazards to coral reefs, NOAA CoRIS webpage http://coris.noaa.gov/about/hazards/
- Efforts to Reduce Impacts of Pollution and Coral Disease, NOAA CoRIS webpage http://coris.noaa.gov/activities/pollution.html
- United States Geological Survey http://coralreefs.wr.usgs.gov
- EPA http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/habitat/coral_index.cfm
- Reef Relief http://reefrelief.org
- ReefBase http://www.reefbase.org/main.aspx
- Photo credit: Andy Bruckner and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/foundations/coral/image9.html
- Photo credit: NOAA and Dave Burdick http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2009/04/climate-change-and-coral-bleaching-changing-seascape-virgin-islands-national-park
Follow these links to go to the rest of the lesson