It has been only since the development of modern SCUBA equipment in the late 1940s that significant numbers of scientists and recreational divers have been able to witness and study this small but significant portion of the marine environment. These reefs exist only in shallow, continuously warm, clear and unpolluted seas—the very places many people choose for vacation get-aways. But are the reefs being “loved to death?”
It is estimated that one billion people depend on coral reefs for their primary protein source, and the expanding world population is beginning to have major negative impacts on these reefs from: over-fishing; increased sedimentation from soil erosion from poorly managed logging operations; eutrophication from fertilizers and pesticides washed off land-based crops; and chemical toxins released into the seas either accidentally or on purpose. These healthy coral reefs are getting sick; they are noticeably threatened and are diminishing in size. It is estimated that 10% of the world’s coral reefs have been lost in the last 10-15 years. There are only a few locations in the western Pacific that come near to representing those graphically displayed in Finding Nemo.
The two semester-hour,
intensive Coral Reef Ecology course taught here in
The prerequisite for this course is any college-level ecology course and SCUBA certification which can be obtained at the CU Recreational Center or locally in a commercial dive establishment. By clicking on the links below one can access additional Coral Reef Ecology information: