Topic outline

  • Coral Reefs: Introduction

    Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. Although tropical rainforests contain more species than coral reefs, reefs contain more phyla than rainforests! 


    In this course we will introduce you to the wonders of the coral reef, how they are created and the immense biological pressure they are under as a result of mans impact on the ocean environment.

  • This topic

    Lesson 1: Geology and the Ocean


    Coral reefs exist in only certain parts of the ocean where the right conditions exist to enable coral to grow and spawn. These areas are typically in relatively shallow water with lots of light and fresh currents. Also there need to be rocky outcrops or some sort of solid substrate for the coral to latch and grow onto.

  • Lesson 2: Currents and Tides


    The term current refers to the motion of water. On land, the motion of water is usually driven by gravity: rain falls from clouds and then runs downhill toward lakes and to the ocean.

  • Lesson 3: What is coral - plant or animal?


    Actually,coral exhibits many traits of both plants and animals and could actually be classified as both!


  • Lesson 4: Invertebrates

    Many types of animals inhabit coral reefs for food and shelter. One of the most prominent types of organism that calls the coral reef home are invertebrates which makes up a large number of  animals from jelly fish and sea anemones to sea slugs and cucumbers.

  • Lesson 5: Vertebrates


  • Lesson 7: Coral reefs under pressure


    Coral reefs are under immense pressure due to over fishing and utilization by poor communities, global warming as well as from overzealous tourism. In this unit we learn about what damage has taken place and where in the world coral reefs are most under threat