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MSMS 6002: Coral Reef Ecology: Getting Started

Coral Reef Ecology

Coral Reef Ecology
MSMS 6002
Winter 2024

Coral reefs are one of the world’s most diverse, productive and widely studied ecosystems. Yet like most high-diversity ecosystems, they are threatened by a broad range of anthropogenic disturbances and climate change. This course is an introduction to coral biology and advanced research on the ecology of coral reefs. The course will focus on major aspects of coral reef biology (anatomy, skeleton formation, life history strategies), the geological history of reefs and their formation, and the ecology of corals reefs (population dynamics, demographics, reef community structure, diversity, effects of environmental disturbances, competition on coral reefs, coral reef fishes and novel research methods). Emphasis will be placed on the mechanisms and processes that shape coral reef communities and how they respond to global change. The course will combine the presentation of theoretical quantitative and conceptual models in lectures, and is designed for students to develop the ability to appreciate good science. 

Required Textbooks:

All course materials are provided in as pdf files (e.g., scientific journal articles). No textbook is required for this course.

Supplemental Materials:

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to: 

  1. Deliver a professional, formal presentation of an advanced topic on coral reef ecology or biology to a graduate audience 

  1. Write a grammatically flawless, technically informed, well-structured report on a chosen graduate topic in coral reef ecology or biology 

  1. Ask informed, in depth questions and elicit informed, in-depth answers from an interlocutor 

  1. Answer challenging questions as define above in a formal, scientific, and coherent manner 

  1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the treated materials by answering questions that may not immediately have an obvious or clear answer 

  1. Demonstrate critical thinking ability by questioning or explaining complex processes with regards to coral reef ecology 

  1. Discuss and explain different reef types and their genesis 

  1. Discuss and explain different ecological functions and their importance on coral reefs 

  1. Discuss and explain the interaction key ecosystem processes on coral reefs with local anthropogenic stressors and global change (e.g., climate change) 

  1. Discuss and explain the diversity and community structure on coral reefs 

  1. Discuss and explain the importance of reef fishes and their ecological roles on coral reefs 

  1. Discuss and explain why there are coral reefs, and what they are, and how (and why) they differ among regions 

Other Course Guides

Click here to view additional course guides for Graduate Courses and Undergraduate Courses.

 

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