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A coral reef with blue fish

Key questions

Which graph presentation methods are most suited to the data collected?

How do we analyse graphs and the results collected?

What conclusions have been drawn?

How will Phillips research influence future research and the management of the Menjangan coral reef ecosystem?


To have learnt ways to present, analyse and draw conclusions from research. To have considered how Phillips study will influence future coral reef investigation and management.


Complete the Interactive whiteboard activity by matching the data collection techniques name with both description of method technique and image of it.

Main Activity

Having been out at Menjangan Island, spent four months out in the field and many days diving in the reefs to collect over 3300m of transect data, Phillip and his team have returned back home. But their work is not over yet and so neither is yours. Now, all of the data collected has to be analysed, patterns identified and conclusions made. So that is our focus for today.

Look at the data sets in the tables on the worksheet. Using the information sheet ‘data presentation techniques’, work in pairs to decide on the two different types of presentation techniques which you think are most suited to the data (make sure that you can explain your choice). Having discussed your choice with your teacher and the rest of the group, in your pairs construct these graphs as accurately as you can (complete one graph each).

Look at the activity sheet ‘Data analysis’. Follow the instructions to analyse the graphs given. Do this as carefully as you can. Remember this is something you are expected like Phillip to be able to do in both your controlled assessment write up and in your exams.

You or your teacher may like you to present your data presentation and analysis using ICT, perhaps by creating a layered PowerPoint, with graphs linked to location maps, to show where data sets were collected. On other slides extra layers of information can be added in the form of photographs and annotations to show analysis.

Note: By presenting results in this way you are showing links between different data and information, this is a presentation method that is considered more sophisticated and useful in some controlled assessment tasks. When you add layers of different information to a base map like this, you are using a mapping technique called GIS (Geographical Information Systems) a presentation technique that it is essential to understand and one which you will be examined on. 

Below are a few of the conclusions that Phillip was able to make from the data collected during his research. Look at your analysis, which graphs help to back up the conclusions Phillip has made? Discuss the evidence your graphs give in small groups or as a class.

Phillip's conclusions:

  • In a wide variety of reef conditions, fish abundance increases with topographical complexity

  • A rise in species diversity will occur with an increase in coral diversity

  • In terms of management, areas where reef has been damaged and fishing grounds degraded, artificially increasing rugosity, may increase fish abundance, but not to its previous natural level


Phillip and your final task is to evaluate his research, looking at questions such as what went well and what could be improved, in terms of the methods used and the reliability of the data collected. You are going to help him with part of this evaluation, by thinking about these questions:

  • How could the study be taken further?

  • What aspects/areas would it be beneficial to focus on?

  • Which three areas would you consider important to publicise and educate the public on?

Take a look at the ‘Ask the expert’ piece and see if your ideas match Phillip and his team’s thoughts.