We all recognize that communication and education about science concepts and the process of science is more important than ever. Fortunately, coral reefs are charismatic ecosystems that inspire much curiosity, concern, and interest from many sectors of society. While there is no shortage of stunning images and videos online, resources that combine these visuals with robust educational content can be more challenging to identify; they do exist and I’ve put together some of my favorites here. The list is not exhaustive, and we welcome your suggestions for great additions.
EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES. These resources provide educational information about coral reefs across multiple levels and concepts, often using multimedia.
Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation Coral Reef Ecology Curriculum. The KSLOF has perhaps the most comprehensive website on coral reef ecology. The site is set up as a course with several units and resources with very nice graphics and high quality videos geared specifically for students and teachers. Lessons are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, Ocean Literacy Principles, and Common Core State Standards for K-12, but some of the material could easily be used in a college level course. A major downside to this site is that one must register to use it.
Smithsonian Ocean Portal. The Smithsonian’s website for coral and coral reefs is not as media-rich as the KSLOF, but does have a great deal of scientific information about corals. Only a couple of lesson plans are offered, but the richness of the content lies in the embedded links to additional images and other stories. The science is backed up with oversight by Smithsonian coral reef biologist Nancy Knowlton.
MarineBio Coral Reefs. The MarineBio website is somewhat of a clearinghouse for other marine bio resources, but the educational content on coral reefs is good quality and quite extensive if you follow the links. Like the Smithsonian site, there are links to both internal and external resources. The short videos featured throughout the site, generally from outside sources, are particularly engaging.
OTHER WEBSITES WITH EXTENSIVE INFORMATION ABOUT CORAL REEFS
National Ocean Service
NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
USGS Coral Reef Project
Coral Reef Alliance
Teach Ocean Science
Great Barrier Reef Foundation
Coral Triangle Initiative
Endangered Reefs, Threatened People
Coral Health Atlas
VIDEOS ABOUT CORALS AND CORAL REEFS. There are loads of videos of corals and coral reefs on the web; these excellent examples incorporate educational content.
Chasing Coral (available through Netflix)
Climate Change: Coral Reefs on the Edge
Exploring the Coral Reef: Learn about Oceans for Kids
Corals Under Confocal
Coral bleaching caused by heating water (time-lapse)
Life Noggin – What Happens if All the Coral Dies? (animation)
Coral Bleaching Animation – HHMI BioInteractive Video (animation)
Coral Bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef (animation)
SCIENCE NEWS SITES. These science news websites regularly post stories on coral reefs.
Thanks to Dr. Judy Lemus for this cream-of-the-crop list. Judy is a Faculty Specialist in Science Education at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology; fortunately for us, she is also the Education Node Leader for CRESCYNT. You can download Judy’s list in pdf format.
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