Several of the coral reef scientists featured in the film Chasing Coral are CRESCYNT participants, including our PI, Dr Ruth D Gates, and we congratulate and thank them all for their eloquence, passion, deep experience, scientific integrity, and significant intellectual contributions to this powerful film. Chasing Coral‘s producers are making it available free for public screenings, and its focus now is educating audiences and moving people to action.
We all recognize that communication and education about science concepts and the process of science is more important than ever. Fortunately, coral reefs are charismatic ecosystems that inspire much curiosity, concern, and interest from many sectors of society. While there is no shortage of stunning images and videos online, resources that combine these visuals with robust educational content can be more challenging to identify; they do exist and I’ve put together some of my favorites here. The list is not exhaustive, and we welcome your suggestions for great additions.
EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES. These resources provide educational information about coral reefs across multiple levels and concepts, often using multimedia.
Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation Coral Reef Ecology Curriculum. The KSLOF has perhaps the most comprehensive website on coral reef ecology. The site is set up as a course with several units and resources with very nice graphics and high quality videos geared specifically for students and teachers. Lessons are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, Ocean Literacy Principles, and Common Core State Standards for K-12, but some of the material could easily be used in a college level course. A major downside to this site is that one must register to use it.
Smithsonian Ocean Portal. The Smithsonian’s website for coral and coral reefs is not as media-rich as the KSLOF, but does have a great deal of scientific information about corals. Only a couple of lesson plans are offered, but the richness of the content lies in the embedded links to additional images and other stories. The science is backed up with oversight by Smithsonian coral reef biologist Nancy Knowlton.
MarineBio Coral Reefs. The MarineBio website is somewhat of a clearinghouse for other marine bio resources, but the educational content on coral reefs is good quality and quite extensive if you follow the links. Like the Smithsonian site, there are links to both internal and external resources. The short videos featured throughout the site, generally from outside sources, are particularly engaging.
OTHER WEBSITES WITH EXTENSIVE INFORMATION ABOUT CORAL REEFS
VIDEOS ABOUT CORALS AND CORAL REEFS. There are loads of videos of corals and coral reefs on the web; these excellent examples incorporate educational content.
Chasing Coral (available through Netflix)
Coral bleaching caused by heating water (time-lapse)
Coral Bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef (animation)
SCIENCE NEWS SITES. These science news websites regularly post stories on coral reefs.
Thanks to Dr. Judy Lemus for this cream-of-the-crop list. Judy is a Faculty Specialist in Science Education at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology; fortunately for us, she is also the Education Node Leader for CRESCYNT. You can download Judy’s list in pdf format.
The Open Science Framework, or OSF (osf.io) is a free and open source platform for supporting reproducible science. It’s designed more for documenting work than for streamlining work. It’s potentially a useful place to host a messy spread-out collaborative research project partly because of the add-ons it can connect with, (1) for storage: Amazon S3, Box, Dataverse, Dropbox, figshare, Google Drive, and GitHub, and (2) for references: Mendeley and Zotero. OSF also comes with a dashboard, a wiki, email notifications for your group, OSF file storage with built-in version control, data licensing background and assignment capability, ability to apply permission controls, and ability to make projects and components either private or public. Projects that one chooses to make public can be assigned DOIs (which can be transferred if you move your project elsewhere).
Aside from its primary role as a place to host research documentation and collaboration, OSF has also been used to teach classes in open science and reproducibility, and as a location to host conference products such as presentations and posters.
OSF is not a perfect platform for science – that elusive creature does not yet exist – but it’s a robust start with its ability to integrate other resources you may already be using, gets extra points for being free and open source, and could definitely be worth the learning curve of using with a next project. It continues to be improved over time, and how will we know what to ask of a platform if we don’t wrestle a bit with what’s already been built?
Learn more at the Open Science Framework FAQs and OSF Guides –
or on YouTube (where everyone seems to learn new software these days):
+ Getting Started with the OSF (2 mins) (start here!) –
+ Most recent “OSF 101” intro webinar (1 hour) –
+ Deep dive into the OSF (1 hour) (thumbs up!) –
+ and more at OSF’s YouTube channel.
If you try it out, please let us know what you think!