Which is better: Coral Reefs or Rainforest

This topic submitted by Abby Hils ( hilsal@miamioh.edu) at 5:10 PM on 5/8/07.

Every now and then we catch a Boa Constrictor, Drake Bay, Costa Rica!

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

I know this is more of the actual outline, but I just went along and wanted to try it anyways. So I hope this is good.

Coral reefs are aragonite structures produced by living organisms, found in shallow, tropical marine waters with little to no nutrients in the water. Coral reefs have been around for millions of years and have grown and shrunken in diversity of species to the change in pH levels in the water. Just as the coral reefs have changed over time, so have rainforest. Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions setting minimum normal annual rainfall between 1750 mm and 2000 mm. Some people say that coral reefs are the rainforests of the world, but from reading the Enchanted Braid, it states that rainforests should be the coral reefs of the world. I want to compare the two habitats to learn more about their diversity, how resilient and able they are to adaptation, and how humans are involved.

I. Introduction.
A. Coral Reef Diversity and Symbiosis
B. Rainforest Diversity and Symbiosis

II. The Diversity of Coral Reefs
A. Biodiversity
1. Animals
2. Plants
B. Locations- Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Belize Barrier Reef (Central America), and
Pulley Ridge (Florida)
1. Formation- apron, fringing, barrier, path, ribbon, table, atoll, and bank
2. Depth –shore, inner reef (reef flat), reef crest, Outer reef (fore reef)
3. Water quality-pH, temperature, color
4. Distinct Features-fossils, famous
C. Threats
1. Human Activity
a. Pollution-ocean acidification, runoff
b. Over-fishing-Dynamite fishing
c. Physical Destruction-boating and shipping traffic
d. Sedimentation
2. Diseases
a. Coral Bleaching
b. Black Band Disease
c. White Band Disease
D. Protection and Restoration of Reefs
1. Fishing only in certain areas (Manus Province, Papua New Guinea)
2. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
3. Project AWARE

III. The Diversity of Rainforests
A. Biodiversity
1. Animals
2. Plants
B. Locations- Amazon Rainforest (Amazon Basin), Yucatán Peninsula-El Petén-Belize (Central
America), and the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
1. Height –Layers of the forest (emergent, canopy, understory, shrub, and forest
a. distinct features of each layer- amount of sunlight and temperature,
animals, plants
2. Soil Quality-color, texture, macronutrients, pH
3. Distinct Features- famous, exports
C. Threats
1. Human Destruction
a. Deforestation
-heavy logging
-agricultural clearance
-urban area expansion
2. Distinction –one plant could result in 20 insects
D. Protection
1. Coalition of Rainforest Nations
2. Buying an acre for protection

III. Future
A. Predictions of future regarding each
1. size
2. location
3. biodiversity
B. Changes in symbiotic relationships
1. animals to plants, visa-verse
2. humans to animals
3. humans to plants
C. Research on coral and rainforest resilience and adaptations
D. Research on further projects for each

IV. Conclusion


Butler, R. A. 2005. “A Place Out of Time: Tropical Rainforests and the Perils They Face.”

Castro, Peter and Michael Huber. 2000. Marine Biology. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Hughes, John. 2003. “Climate Change, Human Impacts, and the Resilience of Coral
Reefs.” Science, Vol 301.

Moran, E.F. Nov. 1 1993. “Deforestation and Land Use in the Brazilian Amazon.” Human Ecology, Vol 21.

“Rainforest Live.” 2007. .

Richards, P. W. 1996. “The tropical rain forest.” New York: Cambridge University Press.

Spalding, Mark, Ravilious, Corinna, and Green, Edmund. 2001. World Atlas of Coral Reefs. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press and UNEP/WCMC.

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