Chasing Coral GLARING ERRORS

jrwoltman

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Let me start by stating that I am a 5th grade teacher and my whole science curriculum is biology, including believe it or not, a very small section on coral. However, this in no way, shape, or form makes me any kind of expert on anything, just very passionate, especially when glaring scientific errors are made.

The self stated goal of Chasing Coral is to educate the public about the crisis facing coral today, which the documentary does, but with two glaring factual inaccuracies. As a teacher, this obviously drives me insane, and yes, I am a grammar freak too.

1. No coral have plants symbiotically growing within them. What a coral does have symbiotically growing within it are zooxanthellae, which are not plants, but in fact are protists. Algae is also a protist. Most people are oblivious to this.

2. Every single coral polyp is an individual animal, even though they might be in a large colony, they are not one animal, but many.

Okay, haters, tell me that this is not a big deal, or so what, but your sentiments would be wrong. America's science literacy is far behind the rest of the industrialized world, and misinformation like this is one big reason why.

Jim
 
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reeferfoxx

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1. No coral have plants symbiotically growing within them. What a coral does have symbiotically growing within it are zooxanthellae, which are not plants, but in fact are protists. Algae is also a protist. Most people are oblivious to this.

2. Every single coral polyp is an individual animal, even though they might be in a large colony, they are not one animal, but many.
I was literally trying to get this movie to show on my firestick but fell into latency issues. Aside from that, I agree with your above assessment. Can't wait to see it..
 

PSLReefer

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Pretty sure most people know this, hence the 5th grade reference... Not sure why your posting something to invoke an argument or you feel special as a 5th grade teacher. Idk. A college professor, scientist, biologist would catch my attention more.
 
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XNavyDiver

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I'm like you. I love science and hate when people dumb things down for a general public that more and more is science illiterate.
Science is hard and many subjects require hard work and discipline to truly understand. The language of science is mathematics and fewer and fewer young people are drawn into the field of study instead choosing more "subjective" fields of study ... this line of thought will lead me into an off topic rant, so I'll end it here.
 

Katrina71

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I totally see your point. My 4th grader knew half of what you just pointed out and even brought it up.
 

m88a2

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Pretty sure most people know this, hence the 5th grade reference... Not sure why your posting something to invoke an argument or you feel special as a 5th grade teacher. Idk. A college professor, scientist, biologist would catch my attention more.

I doubt people outside this hobby know general facts about corals let alone nuance like the OP stated.
 

Tristren

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2. Every single coral polyp is an individual animal, even though they might be in a large colony, they are not one animal, but many.

Jim

That was my understanding as well. But the scientist that explained it to the documentarian (Dr. Ruth Gates, Director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology) was pretty explicit. It wasn't an offhand comment or that she misspoke. It was "you mean each polyp is not it's own animal?" "No, they are part of an animal".

So it doesn't seem like it was a mistake.

I wonder if it is a definition thing that has to do with how they are connected. It may be something like Pando:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pando_(tree)

Though I thought that Algae was a plant as well. It isn't in that Kingdom?

Tony
 
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jrwoltman

jrwoltman

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That was my understanding as well. But the scientist that explained it to the documentarian (Dr. Ruth Gates, Director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology) was pretty explicit. It wasn't an offhand comment or that she misspoke. It was "you mean each polyp is not it's own animal?" "No, they are part of an animal".

So it doesn't seem like it was a mistake.

I wonder if it is a definition thing that has to do with how they are connected. It may be something like Pando:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pando_(tree)

Though I thought that Algae was a plant as well. It isn't in that Kingdom?

Tony
I agree with you on how she presented it, but she was wrong. She is also the one who kept saying that coral have plants inside of them. Algae is in Kingdom Protista.
 

reeferfoxx

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In Kingdom Protista, you may have your mic back. ;)
Protista can't be animal, plant or fungus.

That isn't what I ment..

Anyway, back to what I was trying to say.. If the documentary is trying to make a point, I think it's best the use accurate information. Until then, it's fake news ;)
 
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m88a2

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are the polyp's relationships similar to those jellyfish that are actually made of several "individuals" and differentiate upon assimilation?
 

GHsaltie

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I haven't gotten time to watch the movie yet, however I feel your frustration @jrwoltman. Discrepancies like that bug me to no end, especially coming from a source that aught to know better. This country and its people need the complicated version instead of dumbing everything down. I can only hope though that there will be people inspired by this documentary enough to strive for greater knowledge and preservative action.
 

N4sty T4te

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That was my understanding as well. But the scientist that explained it to the documentarian (Dr. Ruth Gates, Director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology) was pretty explicit. It wasn't an offhand comment or that she misspoke. It was "you mean each polyp is not it's own animal?" "No, they are part of an animal".

So it doesn't seem like it was a mistake.

I wonder if it is a definition thing that has to do with how they are connected. It may be something like Pando:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pando_(tree)

Though I thought that Algae was a plant as well. It isn't in that Kingdom?

Tony

I thought she said that they were an individual animal, but they were also part of a larger animal.

I feel on stony corals, that his is somewhat accurate since the polyps are interconnected by tissue. If you tick off one part of the colony, the surranding polyps react as well.

I think they were explaining Coral in basic terms. The audience was intended to be for people who didn't know that much, not for people like us.

On the plant thing, again, this is the best way to explain it to the intended audience.
 

Cory

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you have to ask yourself what was the purpose of wording it that way?
 
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