Coral Reefs

Barbara J. Feldman

Coral reefs are bustling underwater communities inhabited by thousands of species of animals and plants. Often mistaken for rocks or plants, coral is actually the limestone skeleton of a tiny spineless animal called a coral polyp. Coral reefs are mostly found in shallow tropical water, and are among the world’s most endangered ecosystems. Today’s tour explores why coral reefs are so important, and how we can protect them.

  • 25 Things You Can Do To Save Coral Reefs3 stars

    In the United States, the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the health of domestic coral reefs. But all of us can help, even if we don't live near a coral reef. To that end, NOAA offers twenty-five reef-saving activities ("Become a member of your local aquarium or zoo.") that will spur your own reef conservation ideas.

  • Coral Reef Photobank5 stars

    If you're in need of royalty-free coral reef snapshots for a school report (or any other non-commercial use) it's Coral Reef Photobank to the rescue. Click on any of the thumbnails in the geographically-organized gallery to view the annotation and copyright instructions (for example, most require a credit to the photographer.) After perusing the photos, visit the rest of the Coral Reef Information Network. Don't miss the printable PDF fact sheets listed under Tools & Resources.

  • Reef Education Network5 stars

    Reef Education Network from the University of Queensland in Australia is my pick of the day. It's educational but not boring, and kid-friendly but not simplistic. Best clicks are the glossary and all the articles listed on the Contents page. Oddly enough there aren't any activities listed under Activities, but rather a feature on sharks. Free registration will get you a virtual notebook for collecting favorite links from around the site.

  • Reef Relief for Kids4 stars

    Visit the kids' section of Reef Relief for printable coral reef activity pages for lower elementary students. The printable handouts include eight annotated coloring pages (coral reef, grouper, parrotfish and more) and five games (such as word search and connect the dots.) Water Wonderland is eight-page printable booklet on coral reef conservation. For best print results from Internet Explorer, remove the default headers and footers in the Page Setup dialog before printing. This will give you a less-cluttered page, ready for use in the classroom or at home.

  • TIME for Kids: Coral Reef Crisis4 stars

    This single-page TIME for Kids article for upper elementary students is short and to the point. And teachers will love the accompanying lesson plan and five-question, fill-in-the-blank quiz (in PDF for ease of printing.)

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Coral Reefs." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 27 Aug. 2003. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. < >.

  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published August 27, 2003. Last modified March 14, 2014.

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