World Ocean Project (WOP) 3: Discuss the effect that a warming climate is having on the world’s coral reefs.
By the end of this Discussion with your colleagues, you should be able to:
· Describe how coral reefs are formed.
· Describe the locations of the world’s largest coral reefs.
· Define coral “bleaching” and the causes of coral bleaching.
· Explain how a warmer climate affects the tropical ocean temperatures.
· Explain how a warmer climate affects the pH of the tropical ocean.
· Explain the effect of changing pH on corals.
· Discuss other causes of coral reef degradation, other than by climate change.
The textbook pages and websites listed below are just the beginning! Please do your own searching via Google or other search engine to find a variety of websites dealing with coral reef degradation. Please be sure to read the textbook sections first:
· Chapter 14: Benthic Communities (pages 336-340)
· Chapter 15: Uses and Abuses of the Ocean (pages 374-375)
The following are just a few of many web resources for coral reefs:
· World Wildlife Fund: http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/mesoamericanreef/
· Healthy Reefs: http://www.healthyreefs.org/
· Time Magazine article, August 04, 2008: Coral Under Siege, by Bryan Walsh
· Ocean World: http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/students/coral/coral5.htm
HOW THE DISCUSSION WILL WORK:
1. Read all of the 10 questions below, and choose one to answer as a Reply to the title Discussion WOP3: Coral Reef Degradation. Before you do however, check the existing Discussion replies to see if your first-choice question has already been answered. If it has, pick another. But all questions must be answered! Your first posting/reply should be a paragraph of about 100 words. This paragraph is 70 words.
2. Be sure to cite ALL the resources you use, including your textbook.
3. Write your replies (to the topic and to your colleagues) it in full sentences with correct English usage (spelling, punctuation, and grammar). If you need help with your English writing, you should get that help before you post any Discussion content, as incorrect writing will be worth only partial credit.
4. When you start seeing answers that your colleagues are posting, find any 2 of them, to which you will write a reply with a new question or comment. There is no word minimum or maximum to your replies here, but please be brief, succinct, and accurate. However, when you see a colleague’s answer to which you would like to reply, BE SURE that your reply adds to the discussion! Replies such as, “I like what you said”, or “I didn’t know that”, or other personal-type replies do not add to the discussion and will not be credited.
5. See the Rubric for details on how the Discussion will be graded.
QUESTIONS TO ASK AND ANSWER WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES:
(There is no sequential meaning to these numbers; the questions are randomly listed. Read them all before making your choice.)
1. Discuss additional causes of coral reef degradation, other than by climate change.
2. Describe coral “bleaching” and the causes of coral bleaching.
3. Explain how a warmer climate may be affecting the concentration of dissolved gases in the ocean. Which organisms associated with coral reefs could be affected and why?
4. Explain the effect of changing ocean pH on corals.
5. Describe the locations of the world’s largest coral reefs. Why are they located in those places?
6. Describe how coral reefs are formed. Focus on the distinctions between fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls.
7. Two symbiotic organisms create corals; what is symbiosis? And how do these symbiotic organisms function together, creating a reef in the process?
8. What global percentage of coral reefs are threatened or endangered? How has this number changed (increased or decreased) in the past 10-50 years?
9. Which coral reefs are most threatened and why?
10. Coral reefs are said to be important ecosystems, among other things. Explain the importance of corals as ecosystems.