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Revision as of 06:47, 26 January 2016 by AMcDarris (talk | contribs) (Group Project Topics for 2016 Students)
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Welcome to the Coral Digest

This is a project of the ENEC 259 Coral Reef Ecology and Management at UNC - Chapel Hill (ENEC259) class. It is meant to be a semi-comprehensive resource for learning about corals, coral reefs, the threats corals face, the role and importance reefs play in the world, and management of reefs and reef-related environments. In time, this Wiki will become the class "textbook", and we hope that other classes interested in learning about coral reefs might also find it useful and informative.

Each year's ENEC259 class will build upon the material from previous years. Students will select topics of interest from a list of topics provided by previous years' students that require more research, or students can introduce new topics. After a semester of research, current students will synthesize their research and add that content to this wiki.

Main Topics

Tips for Using This Site

  • If you are looking for something specific, like information on coral bleaching, use the Search box at the top and type in "bleaching"
  • If you want to learn more about a given topic, then start with the Main Topics, and work your way down towards more specific topics

About Our Images

Unless otherwise indicated, photos shown on this site are pulled from our class photo album located at, and image credits are attributed in the photo album. Unless otherwise indicated, all photos are from the US Virgin Islands (the vast majority from St. John) or the British Virgin Islands (the Caves of Normal Island or the Indians).


If you have any questions about this wiki or topics you'd like to see added, please email Brian Naess at

Group Project Topics for 2016 Students

These are the existing pages on the Wiki that have no content or need additional content. You may choose one of these topics, or you may choose a topic of your own. If your topic is already covered by the Wiki, please make sure that you can contribute significantly to the existing article.

  • Topics for Students interested in Biology/Ecology/Marine Science:
    • Descriptions/Discussion/Biology of any reef creature that might interest you from our Creatures page (Savannah Britt & Madison Sadler)
    • Descriptions/Discussion/Biology of Other Reef Builders like Hydrozoans and Coralline Algae - Hydrozoans needs to be filled in more
    • Paleoreefs - break down the different time periods into greater detail on the Reefs in the Fossil Record page (Trent Holmes)
    • Create a page dedicated to Ciguatera, a food-born illness that comes from eating fish contaminated by toxic dinoflagellates. (Anan Zhou and Selena Tran)
    • Tunicates and the evolutionary link to vertebrates (Seyli Soto)
    • Brittle stars - their biology and a discussion about their optics (Caroline Jasperse & Haley Carstens)
    • Extinct marine mammals like Caribbean monk seals (Kyle Venrick & Annie McDarris)
  • Topics for those interested in Climate Change
    • Do warmer SSTs play a role in increased flooding? (Kiya Walker and Jessie Bradley)
    • Sargassum and its effect on reefs. Discuss links between humans and sargassum amounts/distribution (Alix Kozin)
    • Expand the existing El Niño Southern Oscillation page's content to include specific episodes. Find research related to the current episode. Can anything be done to mitigate the impacts of El Niño on our reefs? (Madeline Bailey & Marigny Kirschke Schwartz)
  • Topics for those interested in Management
    • Aquaculture: How can aquaculture mitigate the impacts of Overfishing? How is Aquaculture harming coral reefs? Shrimp aquaculture in southeast Asia may be a good starting point.(Alexandria Huber and Heloise Hedlund)
    • Sunscreen and the effects on coral. Take the section on the Bleaching page and move it to a new Sunscreen page. Highlight findings from the new study cited at the bottom of that section, and then talk about strategies to mitigate the effects of harmful sunscreen. Put together a list of reef-safe sunscreen. You will give a presentation in class on 2/24, so that students will have enough time to purchase sunscreen based on your recommendations. (Sara Svehla & Madison Alexander)
    • Examples of reef management in low income countries (e.g. Sri Lanka, Zanzibar, Phillippines, etc.) (Anna Shealy and Charles Stewart)
    • Highlight successes and failures in the NGO world when it comes to reef protection/management. Which NGOs are doing the best work? (Daniel Irvin and Elizabeth Harvell)
  • Topics for students interested in Threats:
    • More on coral mining: look at different areas of the world, regulations in place, focus on specific examples in E. Africa, SE Asia, Caribbean (Kinsey Fisher and Nico Krachenfels)
    • Look into sewage treatment outflows from coastal areas: what is done to treat the sewage? What effect does the sewage have on the environment? What laws are in place? Use this new Sewage Treatment page to add to the existing paragraph on the Water Pollution and NutrientLoading
    • Look into what has been done to mitigate the impact of the sugar cane industry on the Great Barrier Reef (Sofia McCarthy)

Student-selected wiki entries for which they will develop a presentation and other materials

Students, list and link the two related Wiki entries that you will take on this semester, along with your names, here:

  • Aquaculture (Klio Stroubakis & Samantha Pagan)
  • Microplastics in Corals (Madeline Denton)
  • Effects of African Dust on Coral Reefs (Mackenzie Nelsen)