Coral Reef Relationships

Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education

Lesson Plan Overview: 

This lesson introduces the idea of interrelationships among organisms and how these could help them persist in a coral reef ecosystem. Students will learn about symbiotic relationships, with mutualism among coral and zooxanthellae as the model organisms in the first lesson and then moving on to parasitism and mutualism. Topics include the transfer of energy and matter through the processes of photosynthesis and respiration. These concepts are approached through the marine environment, rather than the terrestrial environment, which allows most students to take a step out of their comfort zone. Teaching these concepts with examples from the coral reef ecosystem is also a great way to incorporate ocean literacy into the classroom.

This lesson works well as an introduction or review of these processes. Please implement additional classroom activities that will complement the concepts discussed in this unit. This unit was written primarily for seventh graders, but adjustments can be made to fit any grade level.


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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I would like to find examples and studies related to the chance of survival of fish populations in situations of overfishing.
I plan to use such material in the education of people active in fishing. The area of my special interest is the Thyrrenian sea and the coast of Tuscany, where red coral can still be found, antropic pressure is high, but the sea floor morphology and some remnants of sealife provide favorable conditions for regeneration in protected situations.