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Name: Lea Turner Date: 03-11-2022 Student Exploration: Coral Reefs 1 – Abiotic Factors Directions: Follow the instructions to go through the simulation. Respond to the questions andprompts in the orange boxes. Vocabulary: consumer, coral, coral bleaching, coral reef, filter feeder, food chain, food web, grazer, nutrients, ocean acidification, pH, plankton, predator, producer, sediment, zooxanthellae Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo.) 1. Look at the graph to the right. What does it show? Coral content in Caribbean Reefs as a percentage 2. Why do you think corals have declined since 1977? There may be a role for climate change in this. Gizmo Warm-upCoral reefs are some of the most diverse habitats on Earth, home to over a quarter of all marine species. The Coral Reefs Gizmo provides a simplified model of interactions among 10 key species in Caribbean reefs.In the Coral Reefs 1 exploration, you will focus on the effects of environmental factors on Caribbean reefs. 1. Click Advance year 10 times. Look carefully at the composition of the reef over time. Do you see any major changes? No, not much has changed. 2. Select the DATA tab. Check that Staghorn coral , Star coral , Sponges , and Algae are selected. Populations are given as a percentage of normal populations. What do you notice about these populations? The percentage of the normal population for each is essentially the same for all of them. 3. On the right side of the Gizmo, select the SUMMARY tab. In a healthy reef, what are the values for Nutrient load , Water clarity , Coral cover , and the total number of fish species? Nutrient load: 4ppt Water clarity: 94% Coral cover: 49% Total fish species: 442 Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved
Activity A: The Caribbeanreef ecosystem Get the Gizmo ready: ● On the CONDITIONS tab, click Return to original settings . Click Restart . ● Select the CORAL REEF tab. Introduction: A healthy Caribbean reef is home to over 50 species of coral and over 400 fish species. In this simplified model, we only consider the interactions of ten important species. Question: How do different species interact in a healthy coral reef? 1. Describe: On the CORAL REEF tab, click on each organism shown in the table below. For each organism, give its name and what it eats (or how it obtains energy). Picture Name What it eats (or how it obtains energy) staghorn coral photosynthesis boulder star coral photosynthesis sponges plankton algae shallow, nutrient rich water stoplight parrotfish algae queen angelfish sponges yellowtail snapper young fish, shrimp, crabs, worms nassau grouper reef fish such as snappers, angelfish, parrotfish long spined sea urchin algae hawksbill sea turtle sponges 2. Corals obtain energy from tiny photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae , which live inside the coral’s tissue. How do you think corals would be affected by cloudy, muddy water? Because they wouldn't receive any sunlight, the zooxanthellae would perish. Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved
3. Classify: A producer is an organism that makes its own energy, usually from sunlight. A consumer is an organism that gets energy by feeding on other organisms. A. Which of the reef organisms in this Gizmo are producers? algae, staghorn coral, boulder star coral, sponges B. Which of the reef organisms are consumers? sponge, hawksbill sea turtle, yellowtail snapper, stoplight parrotfish, queenangelfish, nassau grouper, and long-spined sea urchin C. Consumers in the reef can be further classified as filter feeders , or organisms that eat plankton by filtering water; grazers , or organisms that feed on organisms that don’t move; and predators , or organisms that eat other animals. List at least one example of each. Filter feeders: sponge Grazers: hawksbill sea turtle Predators: yellowtail snapper 4. Create: A food chain is a series that shows which organisms obtain energy from other organisms. For example, the food chain “grass → mouse → hawk” means that the mouse eats grass and the hawk eatsthe mouse. Create two possible food chains for the Caribbean coral reef based on what you have learned about the tenorganisms in this Gizmo. Food chain 1: hawksbill sea turtle<sponges<plankton Food chain 2: Nassau grouper<stoplight parrotfish<algae 5. Challenge: A food web is a more complicated diagram that shows the feeding relationships ofall the organisms in the ecosystem. As with afood chain, an arrow pointing from species A tospecies B indicates species B gets its energyfrom species A. ✏ In the diagram at right, create a food web by drawing arrows ( → ) to show which organismsobtain energy from others. Hand draw or click onthe image and select EDIT. Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved
Activity B: Ocean conditions Get the Gizmo ready: ● On the CONDITIONS tab, Click Return to original settings and Restart . Check that Ocean conditions is selected on the dropdown menu. Introduction: In recent decades, global climate change has altered ocean conditions in the Caribbean. Average surface temperatures have risen about 0.25 °C – 0.5 °C. Many scientists think climate change willlead to stronger storms and may cause the ocean to be more acidic. Question: How are coral reefs affected by storms, high temperatures, and acidic water? 1. Predict: Coral reefs in the Caribbean are sometimes damaged by hurricanes. Of the two types of coral shown, which do you think is more resistant to storm damage? Explain. Because of its strong shell, I believe boulder star coral is more resistant to hurricanedamage. 2. Observe: Set the Storm severity to 50%. Click Advance year 10 times. What changes do you notice? Staghorn coral is less prevalent. 3. Analyze: On the DATA tab, select Staghorn coral , Star coral , Sponges , and Algae . Which organism was most hurt by increased storms, and why do you think this is so? Because its branches are so brittle and would break off with how intense the storm is, thestaghorn coral was the most negatively impacted by increased storms. 4. Predict: In the Caribbean, water temperatures typically range from 24 °C to 30 °C. What do you think might happen if temperatures rise much higher than 30 °C? Considering that many organisms are accustomed to milder temperatures, I believe thatmany will go extinct. 5. Observe: Select the CORAL REEF tab. Click Return to original settings and Restart . Set the Ocean temperature to 33 °C. Click Advance year 10 times. A. What changes do you notice? Several fish species went extinct. The white corals you see have undergone coral bleaching . At high temperatures, corals may lose their zooxanthellae, causing corals to lose their color and their main source of food. Once bleachingoccurs, the coral colony usually dies. B. Select the DATA tab. Which coral is most affected by bleaching? Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved
staghorn coral 6. Analyze: On the DATA tab, select every organism. In general, how does the decline in corals affect the other organisms on the reef? Due they have nothing to eat, other creatures suffer because of the loss of coral. 7. Predict: The pH of a solution is a measure of how acidic or basic it is. The greater the pH, the more basic the solution is. Corals and other marine invertebrates require less energy to make their exoskeletons andshells when ocean water is slightly basic. As carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere rise,ocean water absorbs carbon dioxide and becomes more acidic. This process is called ocean acidification . How do you think ocean acidification will affect the coral reef? Because carbon dioxide levels will increase and aquatic organisms may perish, I believethat ocean acidification will have an impact on coral reefs. 8. Observe: Click Return to original conditions and Restart . Set the Ocean pH to 7.6. Click Advance year 20 times. What changes do you see on the CORAL REEF and DATA tabs? Less fish are visible on the Coral Reef screen, while Staghorn coral has significantlydecreased in the Data tab. 9. Observe: Select the SUMMARY tab. How has the loss of coral affected the number of fish species present on the reef? The number of fish species decreased from 442 to 294 as a result of the loss of coral. 10. Summarize: Many scientists predict stronger storms, warmer oceans, and lower ocean pH in the future. If this occurs, how do you think these changes will affect Caribbean coral reefs? Test your ideas using theGizmo. I believe that these changes would harm the coral reefs in the Caribbean because aquaticlife will perish since it is unable to adapt to the new conditions. 11. Apply: In the 1970s, staghorn corals dominated Caribbean reefs. Since that time, staghorn corals have declined by over 90% and are now classified as critically endangered. What do you think are the causes ofthis decline, and why do you think staghorn corals are so vulnerable? Some reasons for the demise of staghorn corals include organisms in the water harmingthem or the plant's frail branches breaking during storms and killing the organism. Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved
Activity C: Land use Get the Gizmo ready: ● On the CONDITIONS tab, click Return to original settings and Restart . Select Land use . Introduction: Corals depend on ample sunlight, warm (but not too warm) temperatures, clear water, and low levels of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Algae and sponges, on the other hand, thrive in water that is higher in nutrients. Logging, agriculture, and other human activities can add excess nutrients and sediments (small dirt particles) to the sea. Question: How do changes in land use affect reefs? 1. Observe: Select the SUMMARY tab. Under normal conditions, what is the sediment load, nutrient load, and water clarity? The sediment load and nutrient load are measured in parts per thousand (ppt). Water clarity is 94%, nutrient load is 4ppt, and sediment load is 5ppt. 2. Predict: Logging removes vegetation that anchors soil and prevents erosion. How do you think logging will affect a coral reef? Explain. I believe that logging will destroy coral reefs because one extra piece of wood may betossed into the water and hurt marine life, possibly even causing their demise if theyconsume it. 3. Observe: On the CONDITIONS tab, set Logging to 50%. Select the SUMMARY tab. What is the sediment load, nutrient load, and water clarity? Water clarity is 75%, nutrient load is 8ppt, and sediment load is 155ppt. 4. Observe: Click Advance year 10 times. What changes do you notice? I observed no difference. 5. Analyze: On the DATA tab, select Staghorn coral , Star coral , Sponges , Algae , Stoplight parrotfish , Queen angelfish , and Long-spined sea urchin . A. Which species were hurt the most by logging? The queen angelfish B. Which species were helped most by logging? algae C. Why do you think the populations of parrotfish and long-spined sea urchins changed the waythey did? I believe they altered their behavior because theypresumably lacked sufficient nutrition and clearwater. Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved
6. Observe: Click Restart . On the CONDITIONS tab, set Logging to 0% and Sewage to 50%. Select the SUMMARY tab. What is the sediment load, nutrient load, and water clarity now? 18 ppt of sediment, 10 ppt of nutrients, and 86% of the water is clear. 7. Predict: The primary effect of dumping raw sewage into ocean water is a sharp increase in the nutrient load. How do you think this will affect the reef? Because the creatures can consume the sewage and perish, I believe that throwing raw sewageinto the ocean can harm the reef. 8. Observe: Select the CORAL REEF tab. Click Advance year 10 times. What changes do you notice? The number of algae is rising. 9. Analyze: On the DATA tab, select every organism except Red lionfish and Crown-of-thorns starfish . (These are invasive species you will experiment with in another activity.) A. How does the increase in nutrients affect the algae population? Because the algae consume all of these nutrients, they expand and can proliferate into a larger population, which has an impact on the algal population. B. How does this change the populations of the two species that eat algae, parrotfish and sea urchins? Due to their rising populations, the two species that consume algae experience changes in their populations. 10. Experiment: Click Restart . In 1983, a mysterious disease killed off most of the long-spined sea urchins in the Caribbean. To model this, select Disease from the CONDITIONS tab and set the Sea urchin infection rate to 100%. Check that Sewage is still 50%. A. Click Advance year 10 times. What happens? The population of long-spined sea urchins is entirely eradicated after one year of the sea urchin infection. B. Based on these results, what is the importance of long-spined sea urchins to Caribbean reefs? The purpose of long-spinedsea urchins is to control the growth of algae. Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved
11. On your own: Click Return to original settings and Restart . Investigate the effects of agriculture on Caribbean reefs. Summarize your findings on a separate sheet of paper to turn in with this activity. Because of the direct chemical interactions between the soil and the sea that might change asagriculture becomes more intensive, agriculture has a deleterious impact on reef ecosystems. Theecosystem of coral reefs is destroyed when chemicals enter the ocean because they hurt theanimals. Reproduction for educational use only. Public sharing or posting prohibited. © 2020 ExploreLearning™ All rights reserved
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Coral Reefs 1 – Abiotic Factors Gizmo Answer Key