Why is it useful to compare rainforests and reefs?
howzit at turtles.org
Sat May 27 13:44:41 EDT 2000
Hi Alex (others)
re: "coral reef as a city" analogy vs "coral reef as a rain forest".
I've never heard the coral reef/city analogy before but I guess most people
know more about a city than a rain forest so educators would go with what
most people know. I can certainly SEE similarities once I get past the
huge hurdle that "city" is a human construct and rainforest/coralreef both
natural treasures are threatened BY human constructs.
Let's see... similarities.... a city is run by movers-and-shakers and there
sure are movers-and-shakers on any coral reef making everything else
run. There's all kinds of interdependency and huge changes in activity
between day and night. Scavengers and parasites make do as they
can... Anyone being in the wrong place at the wrong time and they won't
repeat that mistake.
Yes, I can see the analogy.
I still like the coral reef as rainforest analogy better. Never
experienced a rain forest --only what I've seen on TV or read about. But
a rainforest sure "feels" like a coral reef. Both are 3D worlds with a lot
of up and down.
I've shot videotape of a reef system off the coast of West Maui from 1989
through 1999 and for various reasons, need to return to those tapes
frequently. As I fast forward one thing strikes me.
It's possible to forget the footage is underwater especially when reviewing
wide-angle/distant segments. And when that happens what I don't see a reef
system but something that looks for all the world like a furrowed meadow
with swarms of bees buzzing about.
I'm fortunate to spend two months on the same coral reef every year. I've
frequently found myself forgetting I'm underwater. Very easy to do. And
then the corals feel like trees, bushes and hedges, the fish like
butterflies and bees and the turtles --our beautiful turtles, FLY like
And here's where our reef is also like a rainforest. Sometimes we just see
everything mobile DASH to the bottom hugging the corals. ZING --like
that. And we look around knowing something big scared the lot of
them. The "insects" fled to the safety of the "trees". I'm sure when
BIG shows in a rainforest, small flees to the trees too.
The analogy DOES break down though no question. If a coral reef resident
falls off a coral head (even a huge TALL one) gravity is much more
forgiving than it is for rainforest trees (even a small short one).
At 10:30 AM 5/27/00 -0400, Brylske at aol.com wrote:
>In a message dated 5/27/00 5:41:16 AM, gregorh at pacific.net.hk writes:
><< o add to Bob's ecological comments, I would also note that a major
>between the two ecosystems is that many rainforest organisms such as
>birds, and mammals are herbivores and EAT the major structural component
>rainforest --- trees (leaves, flowers, fruit etc), whereas, there are few
>reef organisms which directly consume corals. Fish are not insects and
>are not trees. >>
>This is a very important issue. When not used appropriately, analogies are
>prone to cause misconceptions among learners. Those who have studied the
>phenomenon--and developed prescriptive procedures for analogy-based
>instruction--all emphasize that, as part of the strategy, the learner must
>told where the analogy BREAKS DOWN as well as where it applies. My
>definition, an analogy is something similar, not exactly the same as
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