How is energy transferred on the reef?

Lesson overview

In this lesson students will explore the interdependence of life on the reef and where different animals, plants and other organisms get their energy from through feeding and symbiosis. Students will learn about the different nature of primary production on the reef compared to terrestrial environments.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand how different species get their energy through feeding
  • Identify the range of primary producers in the ocean
  • Explain how coral gets enough energy in nutrient poor waters
  • Create a food web using species found on the coral reef
  • Understand that different species are producers and consumers and note examples of symbiosis

Lesson steps

  1. What consumers and producers live on the reef? (10 mins)
    Students watch videos which explore feeding patterns and discuss which species are carnivores, herbivores, producers and consumers.
  2. What producers live on the reef? (5 mins)
    Students find out that most primary productivity in the ocean does not comes from plants and are introduced to plankton and its place in the food web.
  3. Where does coral get its energy from? (15 mins)
    Students take part in an activity which demonstrates how coral sources it energy to build the reef.
  4. How do species depend on each other on the reef? (20 mins)
    Students look at the food web on the reef and create their own food web.
  5. How do living things on the reef depend on each other? (10mins)
    Students reflect on how different species are linked through the food web.