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Objectives

In this lesson, students apply their understanding of ecosystems to the study of coral reef ecosystems in particular. Students will examine the effects of human actions on coral reefs. Students will:

  • explain why biodiversity in coral reefs is important to the health of the ecosystems.
  • trace the flow of energy through coral reef ecosystems.
  • identify relationships among organisms in coral reef ecosystems.
  • explain how human activities may affect coral reefs and describe the response of coral reef organisms to environmental changes.


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Vocabulary

  • Symbiosis: A relationship in which two species live closely together.
  • Coral Polyp: An individual coral organism in a coral reef.
  • Coral Reef: An ecosystem found in shallow tropical marine waters around the world; home to over 100,000 species of marine organisms.
  • Biodiversity: The sum total of different species of organisms in an ecosystem.
  • Bleaching: A stress response of coral reefs to changes in the environment, such as warming ocean temperatures; coral loses its algae and turns white.


Duration

45–90 minutes/1–2 class periods


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