Questions for ‘Mystery disease is killing Caribbean corals’


Maze corals on Flat Cay reef near St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lesions expose the corals’ stark white skeleton. A deadly new disease is to blame — and it's spreading through the Caribbean.

M. Brandt

To accompany feature “Mystery disease is killing Caribbean corals”


Before Reading: 

1.   What are corals?

2.   Why are corals important to the environment?

During Reading: 

1.   What disease do scientists think is killing corals in the Caribbean?

2.   Why are scientists concerned about this disease?

3.   When was the first coral disease discovered, and where?

4.   List two reasons why scientists know little about coral diseases and how they work.

5.   How is climate change affecting coral diseases?

6.   What is Karen Neeley doing to treat the outbreak in Florida?

7.   What is Marilyn Brandt doing to treat the outbreak in St. Thomas? Why is she taking a different approach than Neely?

8.   Describe three ways that Brandt’s team is trying to learn more about the disease.

9.   Where does Brandt’s team think the disease might show up next?

10.  What gave Brandt’s team a glimmer of hope?

After Reading: 

1. Based on what you learned, how do dying corals affect ocean ecosystems? How would coral decline affect people living both near and far from corals? (Hint: how do people interact with ocean ecosystems?).

2. Imagine that you were going to join Marilyn Brandt’s team and do follow-up work on coral diseases. What would it be? What would your hypothesis be for this new study?