People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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The following contains educational material developed by or in collaboration with CoralCoE researchers.

Primary school level

A Tail of Two Sharks

A Tail of Two Sharks is an hour long webinar by Dr. Jodie Rummer about her research on sharks. The webinar is designed for children between the ages of 7-14. You can learn more about Dr. Rummer and her research on her website: PhysioShark.

Marine megafauna (educational story books)

Former CoralCoE researcher Mariana Fuentes wrote two children story books for Torres Strait Islands children. Click on the photos to download pdf versions.

Myrtle’s battle against climate change

Dhyum the Dugong








QLD Science Activity Book


All levels

GBRMPA Reef Discovery Course: Cultural Heritage Module 6

A brief overview of the values of Traditional Owners, Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples, and their role in the management of the Great Barrier Reef.

High school level

Fish and People (videos, lesson plans, teacher’s guide)


Fish and People is a 50-minute production divided into educational modules explaining the ‘stock-recruitment relationship’ in an easily accessible manner and with a carefully crafted portfolio of explanatory graphics and natural history photography. Fish and People has been scripted by marine biologists Simon Foale and Russell Kelley, and produced by The Eco Media Production Group. You can watch all modules (videos) below or directly on the CoralCoE Youtube channel. More information and downloads (videos, lesson plans, teacher’s guide) can be found here.


Environmental impact of mining (booklets, teacher’s guide)

These booklets, designed by CoE researcher Simon Foale, are useful for Papua New Guinea students to help them understand the environmental impacts of mining using the Lihir Mine as a case study. The material contained in the booklets includes both simple explanations as well as more complex ones for each scientific principle that relates to the environmental issue in question.

Click on the images to download .pdf version.

1. The cloud cycle and acid rain

2. Smoke and steam

3. Acids and acid rock drainage

4. Gardening and soil fertility

Teacher’s Guide: Environmental Impacts of Mining on Lihir

The following links are good external resources to introduce young people to coral reefs in simple terms with lots of pictures and questions/answer sections.

Primary school level

Search for ‘coral’ education material designed for primary schools on the National Science Daily Digital Library. The National Science Digital Library provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Great Barrier Reef & Coral facts (KidCyber). Kidcyber is a website established in 1999 for primary students and teachers.

Kids do Ecology. This site looks at the natural environment describing different habitats (called biomes), including one on Coral Reefs. This site also has information on marine mammals, and classroom activities. The Kids Do Ecology program from the  National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) provides these scientists with an opportunity to volunteer in the Santa Barbara community by adopting local 5th grade classes.

The Coral Biome (Enchanted Learning). A terrific online resource founded in 1993 for educating children about coral reefs and their inhabitants. This site has coral reef animal printouts for colouring in or projects.

Coral Reefs and Oceans (Magic Porthole). Multimedia resources, online experiences and background information about coral reefs as well as links to other sources.

High school level

Coral reefs, oceans (general)

Microdocs (videos). The Short Attention Span Science Video Theatre offers 2-4 minute Microdocs, streaming on the web, that deliver science one idea at a time. Microdocs are written by leading scientists and are filmed on location across the world. The videos are eye-catching and full of the newest science.

Reef Education Network.

Search for ‘coral’ education material designed for high schools on the National Science Daily Digital Library. The National Science Digital Library provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Sydney Aquarium. The Sydney aquarium’s website has free downloads of a comprehensive range of curriculum-based educational kits for grades 3-12.

National Ocean Service Education. Education resources on ocean, coastal, and climate designed for students and educators.

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation program: Education and Outreach. Resources for educators, outreach resources, and resources on ocean acidification. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce. It conducts environmental research. The mission of NOAA is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources.

Coral & Coral Reefs (SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment). Animal InfoBook. Dive in to the details about the diversity, complexity, and beauty of the ocean’s coral reefs. SeaWorld is a theme park and entertainment company.

Corals and reefs. The Marine Education Society of Australasia (MESA), provides a forum for the sharing of ideas to facilitate the development of leading environmental education and interpretation programs with a coastal and marine focus. MESA also promotes the sustainable use of marine and coastal environments through education.

About Coral and Coral Reefs. Educational material developed along the 2003 film Coral Reef Adventure (watch the trailer) by MacGillivray Freeman. As with all their other films, they developed an extensive Teacher’s Guide containing classroom activities you can participate in before or after seeing the film.

Ocean World. A joint venture between NASA/JPL and the Texas A&M Department of Oceanography, USA. It focuses on Oceanography but also has lots of good information on fish and reefs.

ProjectNET for schools. The Australia Institute for Marine Science (AIMS) is an Australian research institute. This webpage is designed for school project activities, to complement existing course work, and aid students undertaking marine science projects. Where appropriate, links for further reading and information are provided. The site contains covers a wide range of topics including biology of marine animals, algae, coral reefs, the history of the Great Barrier Reef, bleaching and much more.

Coral reef fish

Fishes. The Australian museum fish site. Identify a fish, fish movie clips and FAQ about fish.

Climate change, coral bleaching

A Students Guide to Global Climate Change. Sponsored by the United States Environment Protection Agency. It explains what climate change is and what we can do about it. This link has resources for teachers and also some games for young students (middle school level).

Climate change and Coral bleaching. Imagine you are on a beautiful tropical island on the Great Barrier Reef. You put on your mask, fins and snorkel and jump into the water. But instead of the famous brightly coloured coral, you see a drab underwater landscape dominated by blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and seaweed, but no corals… Nova’s Science for curious minds provides jargon-free, accessible information on various science topics. It’s managed by the Australian Academy of Science, and was established in 1997 as one of the first science communication websites in Australia.

Coral bleaching. Article by Reef Teach, a Cairns-based education centre for The Great Barrier Reef.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies