[Coral-List] Thinking like a coral (or jellyfish)?

Thomas Goreau goreau at bestweb.net
Wed Sep 24 07:57:21 EDT 2008

Dear Alina,

I think even those that show six tentacles externally at the same time  
have gone through an earlier embryonic formation of mesenteries that  
follows a bilateral pattern around the directive mesentery.

Best wishes,

On Sep 24, 2008, at 7:45 AM, Szmant, Alina wrote:

> Hi Tom:
> Not sure I agree with your statements.  We are studying coral larvae  
> and settlement/polyp formation.  They are very much radial during  
> larval stage (planulae vs a pluteus or megalops for example), and  
> when they start to form the polyp, all six tentacle buds appear at  
> once.  Not sure about the internal septal formation because that  
> comes very late in Acropora.  They have solid planulae until they  
> morph into early polypoid forms.  In any case, corals don't have any  
> central nervous system, and as far as I kow only a neural net, so  
> they do not have radial thinking which is what Gene would be after.
> Regards,
> Alina
> *******************************************************************
> Dr. Alina M. Szmant
> Coral Reef Research Group
> UNCW-Center for Marine Science
> 5600 Marvin K. Moss Ln
> Wilmington NC 28409
> Tel: (910)962-2362 & Fax:  (910)962-2410
> Cell:  (910)200-3913
> email:  szmanta at uncw.edu
> Web Page:  http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta
> ******************************************************************
> ________________________________
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov on behalf of Thomas  
> Goreau
> Sent: Tue 9/23/2008 9:29 PM
> To: Gene Shinn
> Cc: coral-list coral-list
> Subject: [Coral-List] Thinking like a coral (or jellyfish)?
> Dear Gene,
> Jellyfish, or corals or all coelenterates are not really radially
> symmetric but bilateral, as is known to all coral anatomists and
> embrologists. If you look at their embryonic development there first
> forms a primary mesentery, (or septa) around which the rest are
> inserted in cycles in which the position and sizes differ. It is
> therefore a pseudo-sixfold symmetry that retains the primary bilateral
> symmetry. Corals have basically the same set of genes for segment
> formation as the higher invertebrates.
> So it is not clear that thinking like a jellyfish will prevent you
> being bipolar, even though I agree with you multipolarity would be
> very much better..........
> Best wishes,
> Tom
> Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
> President, Global Coral Reef Alliance
> Coordinator, United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
> Partnership in New Technologies for Small Island Developing States
> 37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
> 617-864-4226
> goreau at bestweb.net
> http://www.globalcoral.org <http://www.globalcoral.org/>
> Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2008 10:41:34 -0400
> From: Gene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> Subject: [Coral-List] Bill Pierce, Real Root Visionaries
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Message-ID: <a06230942c4fd476a1bfb@[]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"
> I commend Bill Pierce for his philosophical approach to the root
> causes of coral (and just about everything else) demise first brought
> to our attention by Stephen Jameson.  In my simple-minded solution I
> often resort to a line in Jimmy Buffet's Fruit Cakes song..." Humans
> are flawed individuals, the Cosmic Baker took us out of the oven too
> soon." But I do have a philosophical approach to human kind and the
> strange things humans blindly believe in. Mine hinges on just two
> kinds of people. And of course there are two kinds of people. Those
> who will agree with my little essay and those who will not. Those who
> disagree may still find some humor in the story and at the very least
> I hope the "two kinds of people" will haunt them the way the old
> man's statement has haunted me over the years.  So here goes. Enjoy,
> or not enjoy. Gene
> How Would Jellyfish Think?
>     Back in my youth (when I was about 40), I was having dinner with
> an older gentleman at a meeting in DC when he leaned over and said,
> "You know, when you get down to it, there are only two kinds of
> people." I just nodded not knowing what to say. Now more than 30
> years later, I remain haunted by his comment. It's taken all these
> years to decipher what seems to be the wisdom in the old man's words.
> I have become increasingly aware as I get older that no matter the
> issue, some will agree and some will disagree. Disagreement today
> seems more rampant than in the past, but possibly I just was not
> paying attention. Nevertheless, it should come as no surprise when we
> consider our makeup. After all, we are bipedal with bilateral
> symmetry. Two legs, two arms, two eyes, and we have a left and a
> right brain. We describe and divide most everything into opposites.
> Think, left/right, up/down, black/white, light and dark, in and out,
> forward and backward, push/pull, on and off, good/bad, sweet/sour,
> fast/slow, rich and poor, win or lose, and most basic of all,
> male/female. One can go on and on with many examples of two-sided
> opposition in our thinking. Even the computer on which this is
> written works on the binary on/off principle. It seems only logical
> then that, like the old man implied, we are simply preprogrammed at
> birth to think in a binary fashion. So, when people clamor for a
> third political party, as I have, I realize we just can't do that!
> Both houses of Congress (why are there two?) are divided into two
> sides by an isle down the middle. Just like our brains. And the House
> and Senate often oppose each other on issues. We would have to
> reengineer the House and Senate to add a third party. Even
> Parliamentary governments are divided. It's called bicameral
> government. Whether they are Whigs or Tories, liberals or
> conservatives, they are always basically on opposite sides of the
> issues.
>     I felt vindicated and decided I need not disagree with the old
> man's comment after reading the 25 July 2008 issue of Science. On
> page 486, I read an article titled, "Voting: In Your Genes?" It said
> that over the past 2 decades, numerous researchers have determined
> that genes determine whether you are liberal or conservative on
> political issues. The proof comes from studies of separated identical
> twins that share the same genes. Fraternal twins are similar in their
> views, but not nearly as much as identical twins. Well, that seems to
> settle it. For a while, I thought it came down to just being male or
> female, that is, givers and takers, or in tribal societies hunters
> and gathers, or hunters and cooks. Who can deny that males and
> females act and think differently no matter how society tries to
> force conformity? To me, it's amazing that humans can agree as much
> as we do. I suppose that's where our reasoning and upbringing tend to
> overcome preprogrammed instincts. Of course, there are many shades of
> grey in between, and luckily for us, overwhelming logic and facts
> will often overrule our brain's binary software. But I tend to
> maintain, like the old gentleman who brought this issue to my
> attention, that underlying differences remain. One has to wonder if
> when we are in the privacy of the voting booth just how often our
> brain's preprogramming will override all the facts and figures. I
> suspect that in many cases it does. We just can't help it if we are
> indeed preprogrammed to be bimodal (sometimes bipolar?) in our
> thinking.
>     I can't help but wonder what the world be like if we had evolved
> bodies with radial symmetry such as that found in jellyfish and
> starfish. How would we see the world? Sometimes I feel like a
> jellyfish. Maybe when we can't make up our minds, it's because there
> is still a little jellyfish in all of us?
> --
> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> ------------------------------------  
> -----------------------------------
> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> University of South Florida
> Marine Science Center (room 204)
> 140 Seventh Avenue South
> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
> -----------------------------------
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Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance
Coordinator, United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development  
Partnership in New Technologies for Small Island Developing States
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
goreau at bestweb.net

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