Resource Image Coral Reef Ecosystems: Ecosystems in Crisis
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Type of Resource: Science Object
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 8 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 fourth of four Science Objects in the Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack. It explores the natural and human causes of ecosystem stress. Human beings live near coral ecosystems and use them in a variety of ways. Increasing amounts of stress is brought on these ecosystems as humans continue to modify the surrounding environment as a result of population growth, technology, and consumption. Human destruction of habitats through direct harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors is threatening the stability and overall health of many coral reefs. Human activities may also exacerbate the impact of natural disturbances on coral reefs or compromise the ability of the reef to recover from events such as hurricanes, tsunamis, or disease.

Ideas For Use


Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Food web
Trophic levels
Intended User Role:Elementary-Level Educator, Middle-Level Educator, Teacher
Educational Issues:Inquiry learning, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge, Teaching strategies


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
    • Organisms and environments
      • When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations.
      • Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms.
    • Populations and ecosystems
      • A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. (5-8)
      • All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem. (5-8)
      • Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. (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)
      • Lack of resources and other factors, such as predation and climate, limit the growth of populations in specific niches in the ecosystem. (5-8)

State Standards Correlation

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

User Reviews

  Claire (Um Al Hassam, 0) on February 6, 2016
  Very informative and coverage a range of natural and man-made impacts on a very delicate ecosystem.

Causes of Threats to Coral Reefs
  Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY) on April 4, 2015
  This science object discusses the natural and human impacts on the health of coral reefs.

Education on coral reefs
  Sarah on February 26, 2015
  We hear so much about coral reefs. We know they are important. We know they are beautiful. We know they are in danger. Unfortunately, most of us do not really know much more than that. I have always been interested in coral reefs, but they were never really discussed in significant detail in my classes. After completing this I feel more informed about WHY coral reefs are important, and WHY they are in danger. I also never knew coral reefs could have such a significant effect on the effects of tsunamis. After completing this I feel far more confident in my ability to teach students about the important impact of coral reefs, the dangers they face, and most importantly what we can do to help protect them.

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: Ecosystems in Crisis 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: Crisis
  Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD) on February 29, 2012
  Presenting the truth on a very special ecosystem in a very balance way. This is a material for advocates of defense for the environment.

Stresses to a Coral Reef
  Adah (San Antonio, TX) on October 20, 2010
  This Science Objects describes and elaborates about the stresses, both biotic and abiotic, to a coral reef ecosystem. Subtopics include hurricanes, both positive and negative effects of tsunamis, reef eating predators, bleaching and coral diseases. This is followed by human interactions such as commercial exploitation, runoff from land, invasive species, ship groundings, marine debris, tourism and recreation. Two student preconceptions address those held by elementary students. There is an animation about Degree Heat Week in 2005. This Science Object provides a link for Email Help from a Content Mentor. The Science Object is peppered with check for understanding questions throughout it and ends with a short quiz. This is an excellent overview of the problems facing coral reefs but it also provides a section about stewardship of the reefs. This resource overflows with a wealth of information and provides a strong background understanding of the ecological problems facing this un

Katie Lyons Review
  Chelsie Griffith on April 17, 2014
  I chose to review Katie Lyons collection on Coral Reefs. By reviewing her collection I see that she has six resources. I feel that Katie has a lot of beneficial that can clear up any confusions or misconceptions she might have. Having these resources grouped together will allow her to refer back to any of these in case she needs any further explanation on Coral Reefs before planning her lesson to her students. I also like that she had a variety of resources such as science objects, journal articles and podcasts. I like how she is not just using one type of resource and has other resources to relate to. I feel that it would be beneficial if she named her collection and was more specific as to what she wanted to students to gain from these resources. As well as maybe how she was going to use them in her classroom or lesson. I understand that it has to do with Coral Reefs but not exactly sure what her main focus was on with Coral Reefs. I am also not sure what grade level she was planning on teaching her lesson to. I am glad that she included podcasts so that not only as a teacher she will be able to use as a reference but so will her students. I also feel that six resources sometimes isn’t enough event though six resources was the minimum for the collection. I feel as a future teacher the more resources and references a teacher has the easier it is when it comes to planning for a lesson. I feel that she should of included a book or even a scipack on Coral Reefs in her collection since that is a great way to gain knowledge as well as assess the students. However, for the most part I felt that while she was selecting the resources for her collection she was extremely selective and tried to relate the resources to each other as much as possible. I definitely feel that if she would expand her resources her collection would be more useful for her and her students.

Thourough description of stresses to ecosystem
  David K on January 15, 2011
  This science object looks at both natural and human causes to the damage and stress on coral reef ecosystems. This information is presented in list form (4 topics for natural causes and 8 topics for human causes) and concludes with information on endangered species and ideas for stewardship. This object has a wealth of information with a good bit of review questions and can supplement any discussions or units on humans interacting with their environment. Very few interactive components, though.