Coral Snapshots: Biodiversity in Marine Protected Areas

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In this data activity, learners analyze data from coral reef snapshots taken by scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Learners chart data on an excel spreadsheet while recognizing major components of a coral reef, describing several indices used to characterize biodiversity, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of marine protected areas and evaluating the use of a computer program versus quadrat sampling when surveying a coral reef. This detailed lesson guide includes key vocabulary words, background information, useful links/resources, and extension ideas.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan



  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
      • Information Technology
    • Engineering
      • Ocean Engineering
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
      • Human Impact
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
      • Public Policy
    • The Scientific Process
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
      • Technology and the Environment

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • use keyboard
  • use mouse
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Petrone, Christopher J.


Funding Sources:

  • NOAA Sea Grant
  • National Marine Educators Association