Environmental Chemistry and Sustainable Management of Coral Reefs 
理學院  氣候變遷與永續發展國際學位學程  
Ceiba 課程網頁

This advanced course is designed to train graduate students and advanced undergraduate students to obtain knowledge about environmental chemistry, focusing on coral reef environmental chemistry. The students will become skillful to channel the most updated scientific research results with citizen scientists, e.g. residential volunteers. Through this course, we will search through the literature and to identify key parameters for coral reef environmental monitoring. Students will help to analyze samples collected by our collaborating citizen scientists, to interpret the data based on literature information, and to present the results to citizen scientists at the beach site at the end of the semester.

In this changing world, we care more and more about the air quality, drinking water quality, and the nutritional facts of the food we eat. We also care for the living organisms such as corals, sea turtles, fishes etc., live, breath, and feed in the seawater. An emerging call for sustainable eco-friendly tourism is there to balance the economic growth and the marine life conservation. The effectiveness of a sustainable ecosystem needs to be evaluated. The assessment of environmental risk has relied heavily on determining the concentrations and distributions of some inorganic stressors such as nutrients and heavy metals because excess concentrations of these compounds have known to be result in hazardous and toxic contents for biologic community. Yet, the thresholds for the excess concentrations of each key environmental indicating parameters are not yet fully understood. The frequency of monitoring measurements, the density of the monitoring stations is not yet fully identified. Is the monitoring of macro nutrient concentrations and selected trace element concentrations enough? Should we include bioindicators such as bacteria counts and plankton assemblage? How about the changes in coral calcification rates and community respiration rates? We hope to use this course to understand the coral reef environment from the chemical point of view so that we can suggest an applicable sustainable management plan.

Taiwan is an island surrounded by beautiful coastal lines and beaches. There are many world-class diving spots and surfing sites. For example, the isle of Xiaoliuqui (小琉球) has become a major sea turtles foraging ground around with a very high sea turtle density. Subsequently, more than 20,000 tourists surged to the island over long holidays. Residents have foreseen the importance of water quality monitoring and voluntarily reach out to us for trainings on environmental chemistry so that they can utilize the science information to protect their marine environment. The residential volunteer’s call for our assistance is the drive for me to design this
“University-Social-Responsibility” oriented course.

Coral reef ecosystem is highly productive and hosts a diverse community. To evaluate the sustainability of a reef ecosystem, we need to elucidate details on the biogeochemistry such as nutrient, trace element, organic matter cycling in the coral reef system. Meanwhile, the coral skeletons record environmental information and have been used to reconstruct past temperature, salinity and nutrient information. This course is designed to bridge our students to collaborate with citizen scientist in Taiwan’s coral reef coasts such as Xiaoliuqiu (小琉球), Lyudao (綠島), Penghu (澎湖), or Kenting (墾丁).

Currently, we will team up with citizen scientist collect near coral waters and to analyze the water, suspended particle, and sediment samples for their biogeochemistry information. For example, students will work on getting the nutrients, carbonate chemistry (total alkalinity, pH, dissolved inorganic carbon, calcification rate), total organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations, isotopic compositions of the suspended particle, sinking particles, and surface sediment samples. Students will interpret the data and present to the data in terms of evaluating the effectiveness of the sustainability of the coral reef ecosystem. We hope to run this collaborative program and to build a long-term record.

Additional information:
There is a quota of 10 students for this course. This is an advanced course on coral reef environmental chemistry and sustainability management. Students with a strong chemistry, biology, ecology, or management background are welcomed to enroll. However, students are required to participate the course fully and will need to interact with residential volunteers, and thus, only the self-motivated students and those with potential to acquire the knowledge/analytical techniques delivered in this course will be considered. Students will be allowed to enroll in the course after they contacted the instructor, and have been approved of their application.

Students are required to subscribe for individual insurance. Students will need to make their own way to and from the coastal site, as well as to cover their living expense. This is a class on sustainable environmental science, and students should reduce, reuse, and recycle when residing at the beach site.

Students are invited to bring their personal computer.
The enrolled students are encouraged to know how to swim, and to be comfortable in staying in the water (sea) for a prolonged period of time. For those who have certified SCUBA diving license and voluntarily want to join the citizen scientists in collecting seawater samples can pay for their own SCUBA diving gears and fees. Others who are comfortable snorkeling in the sea can also sign up for their own snorkel tours. The instructor is not responsible for arranging any activities in the sea. Note: Students are fully responsible for their own safety during the visit.
Approximate costs for your reference (tentative location XiaoLiuqui 小琉球): Round-trip Taiwan Railways train Taipei – Kaohsiung (1,700 NT$), Round-trip shared van to Donggang Harbor 東港碼頭(400 NT$), Round-trip boat ticket Donggang – Xiaoliuqiu (NT$410), 4-days basic insurance (~330 NT$), shared bunk bed (~2400 NT$), Total: NT$ ~5230. In addition, students need to pay their daily meals and are strongly recommended to rent electric motorbikes for moving on the island. Thus, a valid motorbike driving license is required. Reminder: students are also fully-responsible for their own safety during the trip.
Further details will be available to enrolled students.
For enrollment or any questions related to this course, please contact the instructor: Dr. Huei-Ting (Tina) Lin tinalinht@ntu.edu.tw 

(1) Students will learn the current scientific understanding of coral reef environmental chemistry and to identify some indicators for assessing reef health.
(2) Students will identify and read four key recent publications on coral reef environmental chemistry.
(3) Students will present the compiled data and provide interpretations for the data.
(4) Students will identify challenges in research on environmental chemistry and seek potential solutions to overcome these challenges.
(5) At the end of the course, students will be able to think critically and present their thoughts clearly to residential volunteers.
(6) Students will walk away from this course welcoming any questions about coral reef environmental chemistry.
(7) Ultimate goal: students will become conscious about the cycling of elements and chemical compounds in coral reef ecosystem and have knowledge on methods for characterizing the elements and chemical compounds. 
This course will be offered in English and thus, students must be able to understand English well enough to enroll. Students are required to read and present in English. This is a reading intensive course. Students are required to attend ALL classes. No more than two unexcused absences are permitted.

Students are expected to spend + 6 hours in preparing for this course each week and are required to present in person and interact with citizen scientists. Students are required to give a final presentation (20-30 mins) and turn in a written report (at least 5 pages in English or Chinese). Students will need to work in groups depending on the total number of students enrolled. 
Office Hours
1. Belin et al. (2014) A review of strategies to monitor water and sediment quality, Environ Sci Pollut Res, 21:813–833, DOI 10.1007/s11356-013-2217-5
2. for a sustainability assessment of marine environment
3. Coral reefs: an ecosystem in transition (2012), Edited by Zvy Dubinsky and Noga Stamblers (available online via NTU library)
Biogeochemistry of Nutrients by Marlin J. Atkinson
The Role of Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON) in Coral Biology and Reef Ecology by Yoshimi Suzuki and Beatriz E. Casareto
The Role of Plankton in Coral Trophodynamics by Christine Ferrier-Pages, Mia Hoogenboom, and Fanny Houlbreque
Fish or Germs? Microbial Dynamics Associated with Changing Trophic Structures on Coral Reefs by Elizabeth A. Dinsdale and Forest Rohwer
4. DeCarlo et al. (2017) Mass coral mortality under local amplification of 2 °C ocean warming, Scientific Report, 7:44586, DOI: 10.1038/srep44586.
5. DeCarlo et al. (2017), Community production modulates coral reef pH and the sensitivity of ecosystem calcification to ocean acidification, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 122, 745–761, doi:10.1002/2016JC012326.