Coral Reef Ecosystems

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SciPacks are self-directed online learning experiences for teachers to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept and its related pedagogical implications for student learning. Unlimited expert content help via email and a final assessment both facilitate and document teacher learning.

The Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, explores the unique and diverse ecosystem of the coral reef. The focus is on Standards and Benchmarks related to populations and ecosystems using coral reefs and their immediate environment as an example. Because the Standards and Benchmarks present the concepts of populations and ecosystems generically, without reference to a specific ecosystem or the organisms in the system, coral reefs are used to provide the context through which concepts in a marine ecosystem are explored.

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Reviews (23)
  • on Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:26 AM

I have done 5 SciPacks and this has been my favorite. The information was in depth and interesting. It was a great review for me, but I also learned alot I did not know before! Such a fun topic and a great way to learn or review it.


  • on Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:09 AM

The Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack was very informational and quite interesting! The content went into great detail about these ecosystems, the layout and navigation was user-friendly, and the information continued to gain my interest. I really enjoyed this course!

Shandi Goodloe
Shandi Goodloe

  • on Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:05 PM

The "Coral Reef Ecosystems" SciPack is very educational and informational. It contains much more in-depth information than what I initially expected. For instance, this SciPack not only discusses what coral reefs are defined as, the types, and their ecosystem characteristics, but it also thoroughly explains the biotic (living) factors and the abiotic (nonliving) factors that can positively or negatively effect the coral reef ecosystem. I really enjoyed gaining factual knowledge from this SciPack, and I hope it will help me in the future with teaching elementary or middle school science.

Emily T
Emily T

  • on Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:18 PM

This scipack gives so much information on coral reefs I really enjoyed reading through it. While I have not taken the post test, I still feel like I learned a lot by reading through this. I would recommended this for anyone who is interested in learning more about coral.

Jennifer Cooper
Jennifer Cooper

  • on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:23 PM

The structure of the SciPacks really help me understand the underlying concepts that surround each topic. Initially, I was unsure of how well I'd grasp scientific concepts in a self-paced, online format, but the carefully sequenced topics, interactive activities and simulations, in addition to the voice-over explanations work well together to help deepen my understanding in the content area. Especially valuable are the pedagogical implications and common student misconceptions. I feel a lot more knowledgeable about a subject after using a SciPack, and I highly recommend the Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack to anyone needing to learn more about scientific topics!

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

  • on Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:04 PM

Great Sci Pack Very informative, learned a lot of things I didn't know about Coral Reef.

Yisel R
Yisel R

  • on Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:07 PM

I used this resource a lot in my middle school Earth Science Class and also as a C-DEBI asset during ALI'I with great results!

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:14 PM

This SciPack would be great for a teacher that teaches Aquatics or Environmental Science. A few relationships and concepts could be transferred to a Biology course but mostly knowledge more suited to a marine ecology course.

Andrea Gouldy  (Granbury, TX)
Andrea Gouldy (Granbury, TX)

  • on Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:53 AM

I didn't have much background in coral reef biology and ecology. This SciPack provided a really nice general overview of principles. I would recommend if you need a brush-up.

Rebecca F  (Elizabeth, WV)
Rebecca F (Elizabeth, WV)

  • on Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:13 PM

This scipack was wonderful in the sense that it is geared to all levels of teachers. It is full of valuable information and is easy to understand. It does not leave you feeling overwhelmed. Instead it gives you a better sense of how to take care of our oceans. The activities were very helpful because they give great examples with beautiful pictures. So far this was my favorite scipack. I would recommend this scipack to anyone especially those who live near the ocean or love the ocean.


  • on Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:35 AM

I really didn't know anything about coral ecosystems before taking this SciPack. I learned how much time it takes to build a strong coral system, how fragile they are, and how valuable they are in the world's ecosystems. This SciPack definitely made me think about the impact my choices have on the environment.

Eric Carlson  (Royal City, WA)
Eric Carlson (Royal City, WA)

  • on Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:34 PM

Initially I thought this scipack program would be exclusive to the coral reef ecosystem. While it did include an enormous amount of information about the reef itself, it also went on to discuss the dangers of human stresses and pollution. It discussed the various diseases and water necessities for a reef to thrive (like cloudy water, or a rising pH of the ocean can be detrimental to the reef ecosystems). These connected facts were highly interesting, and I now know far more than I did about the coral reefs.

Jennifer Jarkow
Jennifer Jarkow

  • on Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:58 PM

Coral Reef Ecosystems was informative and enjoyable. Participants learn of the effects of a variety of factors on the reefs of our tropical regions and how the reefs themselves may impact us. Both human interaction and global changes impact the reef and that in turn impacts diverse life in the ocean. Coral and the other animals that thrive on the reef are both beautiful and fascinating. The habitat is so fragile but has been able to thrive. Human awareness is a necessity.

Nancy  (Louisville, KY)
Nancy (Louisville, KY)

  • on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:27 AM

Great resource (and of course graphics are absolutely beautiful). Nice refresher of the food web and food chain (and the difference between the two). This SciPack can be integrated into the classroom with ease, as it takes a concept that can be challenging for our scholars, and makes it understandable through texts, graphics, interactives, and self-assessment quizzes. Excellent resource.

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:10 PM

I enjoyed this lesson so much that I have to go through the sci-objects over and over again. I found it really interesting.

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

  • on Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:54 PM

I was all hesitant before I took this subject. I actually tried to skip this several times thinking that it is but an appendix lesson that I may just take for a side lesson. However, I admit now after having taken it - it is great amazing material that touches the mainstream of Life and Environmental Sciences in neat way. It has the tender balance of theory and real life made so perfectly. You are like taking the Biology course and Environmental science so faithful to the book, and doing real-life with all its photos, examples, venue, etc. Awesome!

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

  • on Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:03 AM

Coral Reef Ecosystems so beautiful and diverse. This SciPack was incredibly interesting and kept me engaged throughout the entire process. There's so much to learn about coral reefs, and this SciPack packed a lot of information into the small course. Anyone who is interested in coral reefs or who teaches about coral reef ecosystems would benefit from completing this SciPack. It was great!

Jessica N
Jessica N

  • on Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:37 PM

This was an excellent review of how abiotic factors affect a coral reef. I particularly liked the interactive activities such as selecting the factors that would help gorwth of coral reefs. I liked the little check facts quizzes. Excellent graphics and good idea to have maps showing latitudes of coral reefs around the world. Good to include abioitic factors like water pressure which is often omitted when marine/water ecosystems are studied.

nancy bort  (arlington, va)
nancy bort (arlington, va)

  • on Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:52 PM

I loved this SciPak and out of the 6 I have taken this is my favorite. It is very helpful review on food webs, food chains, and other ecology type vocabulary. I think this SciPak could easily be used in all 3 levels of education. Elementary teachers you will be very successful in this SciPak as the information is straight forward, easy to understand and implement. I loved the pictures they provided throughout the Pak and my students enjoyed some of the quiz questions that were also given. I made a PowerPoint of the pictures that my students have enjoyed taking when they need a quick 3-5 minute break from a lecture or note taking lesson.

Elizabeth Dalzell  (Colorado Springs, CO)
Elizabeth Dalzell (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • on Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:17 PM

After trying out a much harder Scipack and then coming to this one, the Coral Reef Ecosystems Scipack was so enjoyable. I think I would have enjoyed it even if I had not been overwhelmed with the other one. This Scipack was very engaging and I learned many new things! The information was organized nicely and I loved that it had a section for pollution and what we could do to reduce the waste we produce. I do wish they would have included information about people who live "zero-waste" lifestyles. I have seen videos of these people who can literally hold up all the trash they produce in one small mason jar. I also think a review section would be nice at the end of every scipack to keep the information fresh in the mind. Overall, I loved the content of this module and I would recommend doing this Scipack!

Kaitlyn Lundholm
Kaitlyn Lundholm

  • on Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:14 PM

I really liked this SciPack. It was very education and interesting. The only thing I didn't like about the SciPack is that there was not a review section at the end before the test. If the average time it takes to complete a SciPack is 10 hours, then most people will not remember the topics mentioned at the beginning. I think a just quick review section would be helpful. Otherwise, this was a great SciPack.

Keri Long
Keri Long

  • on Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:18 PM

Upon completion of the Coral Reef SciPack, I am realizing just how little I know about coral reefs! I enjoyed the challenging and engaging aspects of this SciPack. It included graphics, videos, and diagrams to help the reader grasp the different concepts taught in the SciPack. It provided thorough information about coral reefs, but did not go into too much depth that the information became overwhelming. It was very challenging, and pushed me to understand and complete the lessons and questions.Upon completion, I feel like I learned a lot about coral reefs from this SciPack and would recommend it to anyone curious about coral reefs, or needing a refresher! It is a challenging, engaging, and interactive course! It's a great alternative to regular classroom instruction.

Amberlee DeLaney
Amberlee DeLaney

  • on Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:26 AM

I really like this SciPack but found the assessment questions that have multiple right or multiple wrong questions confusing and disturbing.

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

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