Coral Communities: Tropical & Cold-Water Reefs


    “Coral reefs have captivated humanity for many years! But it’s not just tropical corals–cold-water corals can build communities too! I can’t wait to dive into coral morphology and the ecosystems they create around the world!” ~  Prof. Emma Stein

    Please note: Prof. Emma’s schedule is currently in flux. If this course’s time needs to be changed (possible, although unlikely), parents will be notified.



    Step 1: Register Your Student

    Step 2: Enroll Your Registered Student

    Close-up of tan coral - Coral Communities
    InstructorProf. Emma Stein
    Content LevelsGrades 7-8 • Junior High
    Grades 9-10 • Lower High School
    Grades 11-12 • Upper High School
    Course Length16 weeks
    Live Webinars Held OnTuesdays, 3:00 - 3:50 PM Pacific - 8/13/24 - 12/13/24

    We all know that tropical coral reefs are amazing, beautiful, and biodiverse! But did you know that cold-water corals also create reef habitat?

    In this course, we’ll consider both tropical and cold-water corals as we explore coral morphology, taxonomy, growth forms, ecology, conservation, and more! We’ll compare and contrast tropical and cold-water corals in terms of the habitats they create and the niches they occupy in their respective ecosystems.

    We’ll discover how organisms interact within coral reefs–and how environmental changes can change the structure of reefs! We’ll also explore the wide world of coral conservation and restoration, including deep-sea trawling and restorative aquaculture.

    Let’s explore coral communities!

    For a list of scientific skills students will develop, see the What to Expect tab.

    What to expect in the Required section in the classroom each week:

    • Two research forums – in which students are given the opportunity to research a coral reef organism or topic.

    What to expect in the Highly Suggested & Optional sections in the classroom each week:

    • A forum focused on encouraging students to peruse scientific articles related to the week’s content.
    • Curated resources, including websites & videos, are provided to excite learners and to add depth to the subject matter.

    What to expect during the weekly webinar:

    • Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
    • Primary instruction and guided discussions are provided during live webinars.
    • Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) in online class discussions.
    • An activity at the end of the webinar.

    Scientific skills students will develop:

    • Awareness of vocabulary, taxonomy, morphology, and adaptations surrounding coral species.
    • Research using both general Internet sources and scientific articles.
    • Presenting their own research to peers.
    • Understanding of research techniques and design.
    • Understanding of conservation and restoration methods.
    • General scientific literacy and understanding, including an understanding of current techniques and research.

    Before taking this course, students should be able to: 

    • Read at a solid 7th-grade level or above.
    • Write a few sentences independently.

    Students should be willing to:

    • Actively participate (via the microphone) in the class discussion.
    • Encourage class discussion by adding their questions/ideas in the chat window during the webinar.
    • Respond with positive and encouraging comments on their classmates’ posts in the classroom forums.

    Required books & materials:

    • All resources will be online; no textbook required.