Questions for ‘Creative ways to help coral reefs recover’

When corals become stressed, they expel their algae and turn white.

U.S. Geological Survey/Flickr

To accompany feature “Creative ways to help coral reefs recover


Before Reading: 

1. What is a coral reef? What kinds of creatures live there?

2. Global warming is causing the world’s oceans and land masses to slowly warm. How might that affect things living in the oceans?

During Reading:

1. Name three threats to coral reefs.

2. Why does Peter Harrison say that the situation for coral reefs has gotten worse in the last 30 years?

3. What is the difference between brooding and spawning?

4. What happens to coral when water temperatures spike?

5. Why is Dave Vaughan growing microfragments of coral?

6. Why is it important for transplanted coral to have genetic diversity?

7. What is blast fishing?

8. What is growing inside Ruth Gates’ aquariums?

9. What are two potential purposes for the fluorescent proteins inside coral tissues and their symbiotic algae?

10. Why does Ruth Gates say that when it comes to helping corals, “one size fits all” won’t work?

After Reading: 

1. Coral reefs face many threats. Will the scientists trying to save them be successful? Why or why not? Use evidence from the story to back up your argument.

2. People use destructive practices, such as dynamite or cyanide, to catch fish. Why would they do that? And how might you convince them to try a less destructive method?


1. On a globe or a map of the world, plot out the locations of all the coral reefs mentioned in the story. What do these places all have in common (other than coral ecosystems)?