Questions for ‘Exploring the many mysteries of Cuba’s coral reefs’


An array of corals and other creatures greet visitors to the remarkably diverse Gardens of the Queen National Park in Cuba.

Courtesy of Noel López Fernández

To accompany feature “Exploring the many mysteries of Cuba’s coral reefs”


Before Reading: 

1.  What do you know about coral reefs and the threats that they face around the world?

2.  How might pollution on land affect ocean life far from the coast? 

During Reading: 

1.  What are coral reefs made of?     

2.  What are three reasons the story gives for why many coral reefs around the world are struggling?   

3.  How do Cuba’s coral reefs differ from most others?

4.  Why has it been difficult for Cuban and U.S. scientists to work together, in the past? Why does this story suggest that it is noteworthy that the scientists from these nations are more often teaming up now?   

5.  According to the story, what are three potential reasons why Cuba’s coral reefs have fared better than those in neighboring countries?

6.  Why is the spawning period the most critical time in the goliath grouper’s life cycle, according to Fabián Pina Amargós?

7.  In what way are corals similar to trees?  

8.  What are photosynthetic algae, and how are they involved in coral bleaching?   

9.  How do black sea urchins and parrotfish promote the health of corals?    

10.  Why is it valuable for U.S. and Cuban scientists to continue to work together to study coral reefs?

After Reading: 

1. In any ecosystem, plants and animals depend on one another to survive. What role do algae play in helping coral reef ecosystems thrive? How might some algae harm reefs? 

2.  Why does Daria Siciliano describe Cuba’s coral reefs as a “time warp”?