Coral Reefs, the Human View

Part A: Coral Reef Adventure

Brain coral, a type of hard coral that resembles the human brain. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Animal, vegetable, or mineral? What exactly is coral? While corals might look more like rocks or plants, they are actually made up of tiny invertebrate animals, called polypscoral polyp: a small individual coral animal with a tube-shaped body and a mouth surrounded by tentacles., that are related to sea anemones and jellyfish. In total, there are more than 4,000 different coral species of various shapes, sizes, and colors.

  1. Watch the IMAX film Coral Reef Adventure. As you watch, take notes as preparation for answering the following Stop and Think questions.

    Stop and Think

    1: According to the film, coral reefs have "perhaps the greatest concentration of symbiosis within one single habitat on the planet." Describe at least two examples of symbiosis on a coral reef as depicted in the film Coral Reef Adventure. Explain which organism(s) benefit or are harmed by these relationships.

    2: What human relationships with coral reefs were depicted in the film? Would you classify any of these relationships as symbiotic? Explain.