Universität Wien

300063 VO Biodiversity of tropical coral reefs (2017W)

Introduction into species diversity of tropical reef invertebrates and vertebrates, with special reference to reef conservation and tourism

3.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 30 - Biologie


Language: German

Examination dates



Start: 3.10.2017, 12:15 Uhr im Seminarraum 3, UZA I, Ebene 2. , Althanstr.14, 1090 Wien
Lectures: every Tuesday 12:15-13:45
Location: see above


Aims, contents and method of the course

Tropical coral reefs cover 0,1-0,2 % of the global ocean areas. However, they harbor around one third of known marine species. They contribute around 10 % of protein supply from the sea. They serve as natural breakwaters and are protecting coastlines from erosion. Their economic value is estimated up to 1,2 Million US$ per hectare and year. Today coral reefs are threatened globally by the effects of climate change and locally by anthropogenic impacts. Knowledge about species diversity of reef communities is an essential prerequisite for the assessment of reef conditions and for conservation programs.
A) Introduction
- Distribution and types of tropical coral reefs.
- Threats: Rising SST, acidification, rising seawater level, overfishing, eutrophication,
sedimentation, tourism.
B) Species diversity
- Coralline algae to sea turtles: diversity, habitats, and biology of characteristic reef
- Key taxa:
Corallinacea; Porifera; Helioporida, Alcyonaria, Gorgonaria; Scleractinia, Actiniaria, Zoantharia, Antipatharia; Gastropoda, Bivalvia, Cephalopoda; Polychaeta; Crustacea; Crinoidea, Asteroidea, Echinoidea, Holothuroidea; Ascidiacea, Chondrichthyes, Osteichthyes, Chelonidea

Assessment and permitted materials

Written examination
Date: n.Ü.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The goal of this lecture is providing information about the immense species diversity and about the delicate ecological balance of tropical coral reefs. The lecture is best-practice orientated and offers valuable tools for a later career in the booming marine tourism industry

Examination topics

The lecturer worked on the Maldives 13 years, heading a small Biological Station on a big tourist resort island. An extensive collection of reef data is available, including taxonomic underwater photos and monitoring results. This will be presented and discussed in the lectures, together with examples from the Red Sea, from the Caribbean, and from the Pacific Ocean. In situ photos show the organisms and their habitats, the talk complements taxonomical and ecological aspects.

Reading list

GOLDBERG,W.M. (2013). The Biology of Reefs and Reef Organisms. The University of Chicago Press. 401pp. ISBN 978-0-226-30168-6
GOSLINER,T.M., BEHRENS,D.W. & WILLIAMS,G.C. (1996). Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific. Sea Challengers. 314pp. ISBN 0-930118-21-9
HUMANN,P., DELOACH,N. & WILK,L. (2015). Reef Creature Identification. Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. 295pp. New World Publications. ISBN 978-1-878348-53-1
KNOWLTON,N., BRAINARD,R.E., FISHER,R., MOEWS,M., PLAISANCE,L. & CALEY,M.J. (2010). Coral Reef Biodiversity, in Life in the World's Oceans: Diversity, Distribution and Abundance (ed. A.D.McIntyre). Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford. 361pp. ISBN 9781405192972
LIESKE,E. & MYERS,R.F. (1994). Korallenfische der Welt. Jahr Verlag. 398S. ISBN 3-86132-112-2
REID,C., MARSHALL,J., LOGAN,D. & KLEINE,D. (2009). Coral Reefs and Climate Change. The Guide for Education and Awareness. Coral Watch, The University of Queensland, Brisbane. 256pp. ISBN 9780646523606
RICHMOND,M.R. (ed.)(1997). A guide to the Seashores of Eastern Africa and Western Indian Ocean Islands. Sida. 448pp. ISBN 91-630-4594-X
SCHUHMACHER,H. (1991). Korallenriffe. Verbreitung, Tierwelt, Ökologie. BLV. 275 S. ISBN 3-405-13614-8
SHEPPARD, C.R.C., DAVY, S.K. & PILLING, G.M. (2010). The Biology of Coral Reefs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-856635-6
SPALDING, M.D., RAVILIOUS,C. & GREEN,E.P. (2001). World Atlas of Coral Reefs. University of California Press. 424pp. ISBN 0-520-23255-0
SPOTILA, J.R. (2004). Sea Turtles. Johns Hopkins University Press. 227pp. ISBN 0-8018-8007-6
VERON,J. & STAFFORD-SMITH,M. (2000). Corals of the World. Vol.I,II,III. AIMS and CRR. 463pp, 429pp, 490pp. ISBN 0642322368, 0642322376, 0642322384.
WILKINSON,C. (2008). Status of coral reefs of the world:2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville. 298pp.
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS); www.aims.gov.au
Census of Coral Reef Ecosystems (CReefs); www.creefs.org
Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC); www.ipcc.ch
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); www.noaa.gov
ReefBase; www.reefbase.org

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Sa 22.10.2022 00:29