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Coral reefs are a fascinating ecosystem found throughout the world’s tropical oceans. Corals can thrive in nutrient-poor oceans because of the mutualistic relationship with algal symbionts. And as a foundational species, corals provide a habitat for numerous species, possibly the highest diversity found on the planet. However, these complex and beautiful ecosystems are declining worldwide from a variety of local and global threats. In this course, we will explore coral reef ecology through an in-depth examination of the biotic and abiotic factors contributing to the ecosystem’s functioning. We will also investigate the causes and consequences of threats to coral reefs, such as ocean warming, ocean acidification, and resource extraction. Finally, we will identify the many efforts worldwide to conserve coral reefs and promote their resilience. In this seminar course, offered remotely, you will demonstrate your proficiency through knowledge assessments, short writing reflections, a virtual coral fragmentation experiment, and a creative advocacy project. This course aims to deepen your awareness of the complex species interactions on coral reefs and the physical factors affecting coral survival while fostering hope through current conservation efforts.
Format: seminar; Remote, including Zoom seminar meetings twice a week
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Four 1-paragraph discussion board post, One 20-question knowledge assessment (quiz), Three 2-page writing reflections, One lab results and discussion write-up 2-3 pages figures included, and a creative (medium is student choice) advocacy project.
none, open to all students
1. First-Year, 2. Sophomores
Does not count for Biology major credit.
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENVI Natural World Electives