G341/G700 Natural History of Coral Reefs

Spring semester, 2017

Section 11762, 3 credit hours

general information

course description

G341/G700 Natural History of Coral Reefs. Prerequisite: 100-level geology, biology or natural history course recommended or consent of instructor. COLL (CASE) N&M Breadth of Inquiry credit. The course will address the evolutionary history of reef ecosystems through geologic time inclusive of reef composition and global distribution, modern reef development, conservation and management practices, and the persistence of the reef ecosystem through climate change scenarios. We will cover biologic, ecologic, and geologic principles as they pertain to coral reef ecosystems.

Course materials

Required Textbook: Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas, by Forest Rohwer, 2010. Other materials will be provided and include textbook chapters, journal publications, rock and fossil specimens. Assigned materials will be available through the G341 Oncourse site, and various websites.

Objectives of the Course:

We will analyze and synthesize the ecologic and environmental context for long-term biotic associations in the reef ecosystem. By the semester’s end you will have up-to-date knowledge on the state of reefs through their natural geologic history to the present day, with scientific backing for predictions of future reef scenarios. The semester’s focus will be on developing critical thinking skills to augment your classroom learning and, if appropriate, your broader research objectives. Your writing goal will be to integrate concepts learned during the semester into your homework assignments, examination responses, and final assignment.

Lecture, in-class small group exercises, class discussions, videos, fossil samples, identification keys, and data from targeted websites will comprise our course meetings. As will become clear during the semester, both writing and speaking skills will be sharpened. Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning is an invaluable guide for tracking your progress from memorization through synthesis and evaluation of scientific material. Learning objectives will be assessed through a mid-term examination, coral identification examinations, in-class exercises and presentations, verbal participation in lecture and small group discussions, a final assignment and final examination.

grading policy, major assignments, exam dates

  1. 15%: 3 coral identification quizzes. Quiz dates are in the syllabus.
  2. 40%: in-class exercises and homework assignments
  3. 15%: final assignment; 2 pages, 1” margins, 11 point type, DS, printed, due April 27 at start of class
  4. 10%: mid-term exam on February 16
  5. 20%: final comprehensive exam on May 4
  6. FINAL GRADE DISTRIBUTION: A=90-100; B=80-89; C=70-79; D-60-69; F=59 & lower; marks of + and − will be added to the letter grades as follows (− assigned to 0, 1, 2; + assigned to grades of 7, 8, or 9; e.g., 87%=B+, 61%=D− 74%=C). Class grades are not curved.

code of student rights, responsibilities, and conduct


Academic Integrity: As a student at IU, you are expected to adhere to the standards and policies detailed in the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct (Code). When you submit an assignment with your name on it, you are signifying that the work contained therein is yours, unless otherwise cited or referenced. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged. All suspected violations of the Code will be reported to the Dean of Students and handled according to University policies. Sanctions for academic misconduct may include a failing grade on the assignment, reduction in your final course grade, and a failing grade in the course, among other possibilities. If you are unsure about the expectations for completing an assignment or taking a test or exam, be sure to seek clarification beforehand.

Re: Note Selling: Several commercial services have approached students regarding selling class notes/study guides to their classmates. Selling the instructor’s notes/study guides in this course is not permitted. Violations of this policy will be reported to the Dean of Students as academic misconduct (violation of course rules). Sanctions for academic misconduct may include a failing grade on the assignment for which the notes/study guides are being sold, a reduction in your final course grade, or a failing grade in the course, among other possibilities.

Additionally, you should know that selling a faculty member’s notes/study guides individually or on behalf of one of these services using IU email, or via Canvas may also constitute a violation of IU information technology and IU intellectual property policies and additional consequences may result.

Accommodation for Disabilities: Every attempt will be made to accommodate qualified students with disabilities (e.g. mental health, learning, chronic health, physical, hearing, vision, neurological, etc.). You must have established your eligibility for support services through Disability Services for Students. Note that services are confidential, may take time to put into place, and are not retroactive. Please contact Disability Services for Students at or 812-855-7578 as soon as possible if accommodations are needed. You can locate a variety of campus resources for students and visitors who need assistance at