Seems like we are on a coral reef roll lately, with articles on coral spawning, coral reef gardening and unfortunately one on coral disease. But this all makes sense since we are celebrating the International Year of the Reef, so the more articles on our coral reefs the better. Here’s a great idea for the educators within our community. Paulo Maurin of The Baldwin Group, Inc (TBG), with the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program has developed a wonderful educational and outreach tool to bring the facts behind coral bleaching into the classroom.
It’s a 3 dimensional model of a coral polyp that shows a single polyp in cross section. You can print out the model using a 3D printer, (all instructions and specifications are included). Once printed the coral polyp model mimics a coral bleaching response.
For example, when the model is exposed to warm water the polyp displays a loss of its symbiotic zooxanthellae algae and it turns white. If the polyp is removed from the heated environment and cools down the original coral color returns demonstrating that it has returned to a healthy state.
If you have access to a 3D printer, you can download the files here and print them at your lab/offices. See a full video of the 3D polyp here and also visit the NOAA website for a full explanation of what you need and how to proceed.
So Get Started, Find a Printer and Bring Coral Bleaching into the Classroom
Much thanks to Paulo Maurin of the Baldwin Group and all the helpful folks at the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program for bringing the issue of coral bleaching up close and uncomfortable.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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