CoralWatch in the classroom
CoralWatch methods can be practised in the classroom with the Virtual Lab, Reef and Transect before participants head out in the field with a set of Coral Health Charts, slate and activities guide book. You don’t need access to the reef to get involved. The CoralWatch reef education package also contains spreadsheets to help with data analysis . Using these supplied materials, students can collect a large amount of real coral health data as part of their course work. All CoralWatch data is available online and useful for school projects on environmental health and volunteer monitoring.
With the CoralWatch Reef Education Package you can improve your own, and your students’, ability to contribute to reef protection by following the Virtual Reef Transect and working through the Virtual Reef and Virtual Lab. They can be used to prepare for a fieldtrip or as a valuable alternative. As a class, you can follow the colour changes in various corals over time (Virtual Reef) and investigate the range of scores you get from multiple observers. You also gain a better understanding of the relationship between coral colour and symbiont density / chlorophyll a using the Virtual Lab.
Classroom Activity 1
In this activity you will use the Coral Health Chart to determine the health of a virtual reef.
- Following the instructions on the back of the chart, match the colours of printed coral photographs or the virtual transect poster with the colour scores on the Coral Health Chart. Note: these colours will change depending on the printer used and may not represent the original colour of corals at the time photos were taken.
- Record your scores on a data sheet.
- Compare and explain any differences you find between the average colours of:
a. bleached coral versus healthy coral
b. corals observed in full sunshine versus shade
c. corals observed through sunglasses versus no sunglasses
d. corals on a computer screen versus the printed copy
Tools required: Coral Health Chart • Data sheet Virtual Transect • Slate • Pencil
Classroom Activity 2
In this activity you will enter your data into a spreadsheet or straight into the online database
- Enter your data into a spreadsheet supplied on your Activity CD or straight into the online database.
- Take note of your graph showing coral colour score frequencies and compare it to this graph showing the coral colour scores obtained by researchers on three healthy reefs during July 2002.
- Use the online database and compare the data you collected to:
a. past data on your reef
b. a nearby reef
c. a reef in another country
- For each, take note of the date, time, weather conditions and water temperature and whether the graphs appear similar or different from yours. Note, you may have to download the raw data for this.
- A healthy reef would be expected to have a majority of corals with colour scores over 3, a few corals with scores of 2 and a very small number of corals with a colour score of 1. A reef experiencing a bleaching event typically has coral colour scores below 3. Rate the health of each of the reefs you have data for.
Tools required: • Reef Transect spreadsheet • Computer • Internet
PDF version of classroom activity
You don't need access to the reef to get involved!