Resource Image Coral Reef Ecosystems: Interdependence
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Type of Resource: Science Object
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 9 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 third of four Science Objects in the Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack. It explores the interdependent relationships between species in the coral reef ecosystem. All populations in the reef ecosystem are a part of and depend on a global food web (a connected set of food chains) through which energy flows in one direction, from the sun into organism and eventually dissipating into the environment as heat. This food web includes ocean plants, the animals that feed on them, and the animals that feed on those animals. Energy is transferred between organisms and their environment along the way. Energy concentration diminishes at each step. The cycles of life continue indefinitely because organisms decompose after death and return food materials to the environment.

Ideas For Use


Interactive food chain
Posted in Earth and Space Science by Carolyn Mohr on Thu May 05, 2011 4:00 PM

Hi Sara and Therese, The Science Object about the [url=

Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Food web
Trophic levels
Intended User Role:Elementary-Level Educator, High-School Educator, Middle-Level Educator, New Teacher, Teacher
Educational Issues:Achievement, Learning theory, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 8 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 8 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Life Science
    • Populations and ecosystems
      • Plants and some micro-organisms are producers--they make their own food. (5-8)
      • All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. (5-8)
      • Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem. (5-8)
      • Given adequate biotic and abiotic resources and no disease or predators, populations (including humans) increase at rapid rates. (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
      • Applies knowledge about human learning and change. (NSDC)

State Standards Correlation

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

User Reviews

Coral Reef
  Laura (San Diego, CA) on December 10, 2015
  This is a another wonderful resource about the coral reef ecosystem that provides information about ecosystems and ecology, food chains, and interdependence of life.

Interdependence of Biotic and Abiotic Factors
  Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY) on April 4, 2015
  This science object applies the content outlined in other science objects, such as the interdependence of life, water cycle, and food webs.

I Love Science Objects!
  Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA) on September 2, 2014
  I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Coral Reef Ecosystems: Interdependence 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!

Review on Coral Reef Ecosystem: Interdependence
  Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD) on February 29, 2012
  Another great resource on Coral Reef ecosystem. This is most comprehensive presentation of an ecosystem that really needs our attention . The biotic and abiotic factors involved are components of a small but diverse microcosm.

Solid Ecology Information
  David K on January 15, 2011
  This science object covers many of the basic ecology concepts including food chains/webs/pyramids, transfer of energy/trophic levels, cycles, succession, and symbiosis. The examples as they relate to coral reefs are very clear. There are interactives that assist in the understanding and I found the one where you can manipulate populations at various points of a food pyramid to see the effect on other predator and prey populations potentially beneficial for the classroom. Great use of the coral reef subject to covers these ecology topics.

Interdependence of Life on a Coral Reef
  Adah (San Antonio, TX) on October 19, 2010
  This Science Object provides an excellent overview of the interdependence of life on a coral reef. This Science Object begins with a pretest to assess understanding before beginning. Along with excellent photos there are several interactive activities as well as animated images to explain the text. Food webs, food pyramids, several types of symbiosis and ecological succession are topics covered in this particular Science Object. Common student misconceptions are addressed as well. There is an opportunity to have the information read to you as well as a glossary to reinforce vocabulary. This is a great source of general introductory information about a coral reef that would provide a strong background foundation for either an educators or a student to learn on their own.

Coral Reef Ecosystem
  Barbara Ryan on January 19, 2012
  This resource would be very helpful for those teachers who have to teach relationships in a coral reef ecosystems. It describes many of the interdepent relationships found in various coral reef ecosystems. It goes on to explain how the relationships benefit each species and helps this ecosystem to thrive. It also helps you understand the importance of this ecosystem and the interdepence of each organism to the survival of the coral reef. It is very interesting as well as informative.

Excellent for a beginner!
  Eve K on June 6, 2011
  This is an excellent resource for anyone that is trying to understand the basics of ecology and food chains.

Coral Reef Ecosystem
  Hazel Robateau on May 5, 2014
  I added this to the collection to demonstrate yet another ecosystem. It really made me consider wanting a fish tank in class where students can work as a team to take care of their own ecosystem.