Coral Reef Ecology and Biology

Discover the largest and most complex biological structures on earth in this introduction to tropical coral reefs and the organisms and processes responsible for their formation. From an overview of reefs and their tropical marine environment, expand into the evolution, systematics, physiology, ecology and symbiosis of reef building corals. Learn about structure and ecological dynamics of coral reef fish communities, and the major characteristics of other key animals and plants on reefs. Recognize key processes on shallow and deep reefs, and variability among reefs, including those of the Okinawan area.  Examine cutting-edge questions in coral reef biology and conservation. Critically analyze natural and human disturbances to reefs with an emphasis on current models of management and conservation.  Design a marine refuge area based on ecological and conservation principles. Develop practical skills in sample and survey methods via snorkeling activities. 

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

Undergraduate knowledge of general biology and zoology. Able to swim and snorkel for the field trip component of the course.