Coral Reef Ecosystems: The Abiotic Setting

Science Object

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.

Grades
  • Elementary
  • Middle
  • High

Community ActivitySaved in 4424 Libraries

Reviews (11)
  • on Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:27 AM

Example of Things I learned: *waves aerate the water forcing more necessary oxygen in the water. * rising levels of CO2 in the air may be absorbed by the oceans, making pH levels lower, and the more acidic water make it hard to corals to survive. * the salinity and density description of ocean water is often the same. As global temperature increases, evaporating more water, the water can become more saline. * human and natural conditions could cloud the water, such as poor agricultural practice that lead to soil erosion.

Robin Willig  (Rye Brook, NY)
Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY)

  • on Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:25 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Coral Reef Ecosystems: The Abiotic Setting Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are really beneficial!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:25 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Coral Reef Ecosystems: The Abiotic Setting Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are really beneficial!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:34 PM

This special highlight study on the abiotic factors of the coral reef ecosystem teaches the value of life being dependent on non-living.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:34 PM

This special highlight study on the abiotic factors of the coral reef ecosystem teaches the value of life being dependent on non-living.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:15 AM

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.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:20 PM

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.

Amber S
Amber S

  • on Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:20 PM

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.

Amber S
Amber S

  • on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:07 PM

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!

Valarie Page  (Wethersfield, CT)
Valarie Page (Wethersfield, CT)

  • on Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:09 AM

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.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

  • on Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:12 PM

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

David K
David K


Free - NSTA Members

$5.95 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.

Share