Penn State NASA

Goals and Learning Outcomes


Goals and Learning Outcomes


On completing this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • describe the physical, chemical and biological controls on the livelihood of coral reefs, calcareous plankton, dinoflagellates, and jellyfish;
  • explain how human activity is causing ocean acidification, coral bleaching, red tides and blooms of jellyfish
  • interpret evidence for the decline in reef health and its relationship with changing sea surface temperature

Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, students should be able to understand the following topics:

  • projected change in pH in 2100 under SRES A2
  • significance of pH, omega
  • dissolution and precipitation reactions
  • diversity of reef environments
  • biology of corals, polyps, hard and soft corals, reproduction, role of zooxanthellae
  • changes in calcification in the Great Barrier Reef
  • causes and effects of bleaching
  • coralline algae and their significance
  • impact of acidification on plankton, pteropods, foraminifera, and coccolithophores
  • causes of HABs
  • life cycle of dinoflagellates and diatoms
  • general impacts of toxins on fish and humans
  • Pfiesteria controversy
  • origin of CyanoHABs
  • origin of giant jellyfish blooms
  • impact of giant jellyfish blooms on coastal ecosystems