in the Coral Reef
Web Quest Sections
What is a Coral Reef?
Who's Who in the Coral Reef?
Who Done It?? 
Present Your Findings
When you complete this part of the mission you should be able to: 

Identify and describe adaptations that help specific ocean organisms survive.
Identify symbiotic relationships in which both organisms benefit.
Design a new marine organism, a predator or prey. Give it adaptations such as specialized body parts or abilities that help it live in the coral reef. Create a model or a drawing of your organism.
Click here for the Scoring Rubric

First, let's look at some general adaptations that help many marine organisms live in the ocean.

Fish have several important adaptations that allow them to live in their ocean environment.
  • Gills take oxygen out of the water so that the fish can "breathe" underwater. (Many other marine organisms, like shrimp and sea slugs also have gills.)
  • Most fish have a streamlined shape as well as a tail and fins to help them move easily and quickly through the water.
  • A swim bladder (or the liver) helps the fish control its buoyancy and stay at a certain depth.
Marine mammals also have adaptations for life underwater.
  • Mammals do not have gills and cannot breathe underwater; however, they can hold their breath for long periods of time. Some seals can hold their breath for 45 minutes and some whales can hold their breath for over an hour!
  • Most marine mammals have either tails or webbed feet and their "arms" have evolved into flippers. Their bodies also have a streamlined shape.
  • Mammals are warm-blooded and need insulation to keep their body temperature from dropping. They have either a thick layer of blubber (fat) or very thick fur.

The shark is perfectly adapted for its underwater environment.
Click on the picture to view this short video. (mpeg format 966 KB) It will take a few moments to display.

mpeg video format 966 KB

 Click here go on to investigate some Specialized Adaptations


Intro | Rubric | What is a Coral Reef? | Who's Who in the Coral Reef? | Who Done It?| Present Findings

© 2001 - 2012
Karen Muska

Picture Credits
The majority of the photographs were taken and edited by the author, Karen Muska.
Video footage courtesy of Mark Riha; used with permission. Edited by Karen Muska.
Some pictures are from The Florida Marine Sanctuary Web Site:  Florida Keys Photo Gallery
Clip art: Art Today, The Animation Factory, Microsoft Office