Resource Detail: Science Object

Resource Image Coral Reef Ecosystems: The Abiotic Setting
Free Offering
$0 - Member Price  
$0 - Nonmember Price


Type of Resource: Science Object
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 7 reviews
Publication Title: None
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School


Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the second of four Science Objects in the Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack. It investigates the abiotic characteristics that affect the coral reef ecosystem. The number and kinds of organisms found along each reef depend on the physical conditions of the environment and resources available, including food, light, water quality, temperature, and other organisms living in the reef. If conditions change significantly due to changes in climate, loss of food sources, excessive predation, or loss of habitat, the health and stability of the ecosystem will be affected. Like many complex systems, coral ecosystems tend to have cyclic fluctuations around a state of rough equilibrium. In the long run, if conditions remain reasonably constant a coral ecosystem can be stable for hundreds of years.

Ideas For Use


Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Energy transfer
Intended User Role:Elementary-Level Educator, High-School Educator, Middle-Level Educator, Teacher
Educational Issues:Inquiry learning, Learning theory, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 10 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 10 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Life Science
    • Populations and ecosystems
      • All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem. (5-8)
      • The tropical savanna ecosystem is characterized by periods of heavy rainfall followed by periods of drought. (It includes indigenous grasslands)
      • The tropical savanna ecosystem contains the greatest collection of grazing animals on Earth.
      • Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. (5-8)
      • Plants and some micro-organisms are producers--they make their own food. (5-8)
      • Energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis. (5-8)
      • Healthy ecosystems ensure a healthy biosphere by regulating the flow of energy and the cycling of nutrients.
  • Process Standards for Professional Development
    • Research-Based
      • Address teachers' needs as learners and build on their current knowledge of science content, teaching, and learning. (NSES)
    • Design
      • Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. (NSES)
    • Learning
      • Build on the teacher's current science understanding, ability, and attitudes. (NSES)

State Standards Correlation

Use the form below to view which of your state standards this resource addresses.

User Reviews

Review on Coral Reef Ecosystems: Abiotic
  Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD) on February 29, 2012
  This special highlight study on the abiotic factors of the coral reef ecosystem teaches the value of life being dependent on non-living.

Nonliving Aspects Surrounding Coral Reefs
  Adah (San Antonio, TX) on October 20, 2010
  This Science Object explains the nonliving aspects of a coral reef ecosystem. A map identifies the global zone where reefs are commonly found on Earth. The reader is introduced to the effects of the sun’s radiant energy, turbidity, salinity, pH, and temperature on the health of a reef. Water chemistry is discussed as well as the effects of water pressure. A common student preconception talks about student’s lack of understanding about pollution to plants. Perhaps the best part of this Science Object is the interactive. The learner can alter the pH, temperature, salinity, and light a reef is exposed to and see what happens. If correct the reef grows and fish appear. This is a nice tool to use with students. The Science Object ends with a self-check five question quiz. This Science Object is an excellent resource to provide a teacher with a background understanding of the nonliving aspects of a coral reef system.

Review on Coral Reef Ecosystems: Abiotic
  Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD) on February 29, 2012
  This special highlight study on the abiotic factors of the coral reef ecosystem teaches the value of life being dependent on non-living.

Coral Reef Ecosystems: The Abiotic Setting
  Amber S on February 12, 2013
  This sci-object was very informative. It was interesting to see the map of all the coral reefs in the world and realize that they were almost completely within the range of the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The interactive reef builder was less satisfying than other interactives I've done in other sci-objects. Also, the click on a picture and a number will appear function in the assessment portion is not compatible with Macs. Overall, a good sci-object, though.

Reflection on Coral Reef-Abiotic Factors
  Valarie Page (Wethersfield, CT) on July 18, 2011
  I chose this lesson to enhance a pond water activity that I do with my seventh graders at the end of the year. The content of this professional development gave insight as how I could incorporate an ecological theme as well as just concentrate on the various interesting microbes in the water. Not all the abiotic factors mentioned in the lesson would directly apply to fresh water habitats, however, I can further research the factors that would. In addition, I also acquired facts that will aid in my discussions of the seasons, the pH scale, and pressure of fluids!

Great Introduction to Coral Reef System
  Elizabeth on April 30, 2010
  This is a great resource for a general overview of the coral reef system. This resource includes vocabulary, the location of the reefs around the world, the necessary environmental conditions for a thriving coral reef, and the importance and explanation of water clarity surrounding coral reefs. However, I would like to have seen more brillant photos of living coral reefs within this resource.

Good, but less of the stuff I like in Sci Objects
  David K on January 15, 2011
  First, I do want to state that I think using coral reefs to integrate and discuss many earth science and physical science concepts as abiotic factors is a good way of presenting this information. I think these are important concepts for a teacher of life sciences (at all school levels) to know. This object includes short overviews of sunlight, ocean temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen levels, turbidity, pressure, as well as the very basics of waves, tides, and currents. However, for such a variety of topics, there appeared to be fewer questions asked along the way as review and fewer interactives, which are the components that usually make me feel I’m not just reading a textbook online. This is the first science object that gave me more of that feeling. The only interactive is at the end and is basically a visual review question with minimal manipulatives where you have to adjust some of the abiotic factors to create optimal coral reef growth. Again, the info is varied an