SaintJoe H2O

Use the thread below as a gallery space for your reflection of Chapter 4, "The Outer Strands." You have full freedom in how to reflect on this one...  Sci-Po, Visual Chapter Summary, traditional, etc. That said, remember, stick to a protocols. There is power in protocols, for they often force our thinking toward a more creative level. This, of course, seems ironic before trying...  but I think you'll soon see what I mean by that.

As always, post your reflection of this challenge and comment both on how this helped you learn the content of this part of the book, as well as how the processes of the task contributed to the cause specifically. I look forward to the discussion in the space below:

*Image taken by Sean Nash along the Northern shore of Gibson Cay in Middle Bight, Andros Island, The Bahamas.

**PS- for reference, Sci-Po Protocol is embedded within this post. other protocols for reflection are attached below.

Tags: EnchantedBraid, mangroves, reading, reflection, summarization

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'The Outer Strands'

My haiku deck is trying to represent how the ecosystems of a coral reef can be like a color wheel.  Both are filled with diversity meaning that the types of colors and the variation amongst the species seem infinite.   Also, the reef has compliments like a color wheel does.  For instance, sea grass is to the mangroves as red is to green.  Both of these compliment each other nicely and flow together to make up something larger then each of their own identities.  The beauty of the reef lies not only in the 'primary colors' but it also lies in the outer strands of colors.  The outer strand colors are colors that the primary colors produce such as the color violet and orange.  Davidson was trying to show us that beauty can be found all over the place and to keep an open mind when searching for it.

*Photo credits reserved to 777images from the creative commons of flicker.  (

Everything you write about in these discussion's are so creative and I really enjoy reading them. They are usually the first thing I read because it opens my mind about what I want to base mine off of. Great job! Also your Sci-po last time was amazing, you should be a poet. Me, not so much!







"Mangroves and sea grass beds are the two lines of defense protecting sensitive coral reefs from potentially devastating land-based influences."

This theme of this chapter said to me: "What is seen is not what is contained" or, basically: "There is more beneath the surface." 

When I think of mangroves, I think of swampy, marshy areas filled with bent branches and twisted trunks. Nothing about mangroves appeals to me in the slightest. But, like all the other chapters in this book, I have been enlightened to see what really exists beneath the surface of the ocean, and how none of it is what I expect. Mangroves are indeed like coral reefs: they are a home to diversity, with "up to eighty individual crabs scurrying around a single square yard of mangrove forest." What I never would have guessed in this chapter is that mangroves are essential to the success of coral reefs. Them acting as a filter between land and ocean amazes me. When I think of pollution in the ocean, I think of man-made, plastic toys stuck beneath the surface and devastating marine animals. I think of oil spills and and waste from ships and cruises. I never one thought to acknowledge the possibility of "natural" pollution occurring in the ocean. This may be due to the fact that mangroves do such a good job in preventing this. 

This furthers my view of the fragility of the ocean. Not only is it susceptible to human destruction, but also destruction from microscopic organisms as well. The vitality of a mangrove's existence can be seen through Davidson's writing in this chapter, as he tells us of how mangroves help to protect coral reefs. I would never have thought about the necessity of controlling the nitrogen and phosphorus levels of the ocean, but I have learned that it is essential to the life of corals. This entire process amazes me. 

The success of sea grasses is incredible as well. Just by existing, and growing astronomically fast, they act as defense for the corals against sediment and harsh waves, not to mention the erosion that would ensue. Sea grass, to me, seems weak and destructible, but somehow the population is able to help with the success of the entire coastal ecosystem. 

Mangroves and sea grass: two "insignificant" and "pointless" topics that are overlooked everyday. However, the beauty and success of coral reefs and coastal ecosystems is not. But you cannot have one without the other. What needs to be protected can be protected by the smallest of things, which are not always the most aesthetically pleasing. However, the lame reputation of mangroves and sea grass does nothing to their significance to the evolution of what is home to endless marine diversity: the coral reefs. 

Mangroves, sea grass, and coral reefs. I never would have thought that these things would be interconnected so deeply. A braid within a braid. This chapter talks about how these three components are all connected and what roles they play.

The only thing I like about mangrove trees is how the roots look all tangled in the water with hidden crevasses. But most people when they look at mangroves see a nuisance and ugly. They are a breeding ground for diseases, crocodiles, and other animals and are muddy and that putrid mud smells like rotten eggs. One of the interesting facts that the chapter stated was there could be "up to eighty individual crabs scurrying around a single square yard of mangrove forest"(68). Nobody in their right mind would consider that mangroves is one of the two defenses that keep the beautiful coral reefs alive. They filter nitrogen and phosphorus which helps prevent algae blooms that could smother the reefs. I for one would never have thought that mangroves could be a buffer between the land and ocean or that the land could affect the coral reefs so much without the mangrove trees. When I think of mangroves all I can picture is a tree! Not something the coral reefs depend on.

The second part of this braid within a braid is sea grass. One of the types of sea grass that is discussed in this chapter is turtle grass. It amazes me how that species of sea grass has adapted to survive in the ocean. Sea grass isn't very extraordinary but it does more than anyone realizes. Sea grass meadows have roots that go down a few feet and run horizontal (which is one way they reproduce). These root provide "tremendous stability to what might otherwise be shifting sands"(66). Sea grass gets some of the nutrients that the mangroves pass on and they give the remaining to the corals.

Mangroves and sea grass are over widely looked and considered a nuisance but they play an important role in the survival of coral reefs. Coral reefs, sea grass, and mangroves are intertwined they belong together to put it plainly "you cannot have one without the other"(Maddy Stelien).

Okay, mine might seem boring because it is only talking about one thing. The Thalassia Testudinum a sea grass, but i found this story or part of this chapter really interesting. I thought it was beautiful how the 'parent' "bathes the infant leaf in water it has desalinated and bottled up in their protective sheath." Without the help from the parent, the infant would not live, and therefore the plant would die out. Which was why i based my whole keynote presentation on these sea grass. 

The other thing that just caught my eye was the Christmas tree worms. I thought well might as well go look at them. So I found this picture and thought this was the coolest thing I had seen since sliced bread. They are so beautiful and i realize how the author of this book quickly lost their self looking at a coral head covered in Christmas tree worms. I would probably lose time too if I were surrounded by these. There are so many different colors. This was probably my favorite chapter of the book so far, I have no idea why it is probably because of the sea grass and how they protect their babies and help them survive.

I thought the same thing when I was reading, and came across the term " Christmas tree worms" I google imaged it and thought they were pretty neat as well!
Yet again, the seas continue to amaze me in their ability to support each other even when they get no appreciation. One thing in particular that I thought was simply spectacular about this chapter were the Thalassia and their development of mature leaves that are salt water resistant. When Larkum separated the blade from the sheath, revealing an immature leaf surrounded by another protective covering filled with fresh water....all I can say to this is wow. That is just so cool how these beautiful organisms have adapted to keep their cycle running. Also, I found it interesting that these grass like organisms extend vertically to form a tight grip on what would be shifting, unstable sands. Everything these creatures do is productive and beneficial to either themselves or their surrounding sea family.

"When photosynthesis is at its peak, they produce more oxygen they can readily release, and the blades swell up as thick as fingers". The imagery that Osha Gray Davidson uses throughout this entire book thus far is fantastic! These organisms create as much energy as possible in any amount of time. Imagine if humans were this productive with their time? Imagine if we eliminated idle time and "pointless" activities? We can simply look up to these creatures...

This book never fails to amaze me! I have always thought of a coral reef as being its own "island" because it is so diverse and strong by itself. However, Davidson very quickly points out that coral reefs are a small strand in a large braid- "a braid within a braid." (Davidson 64). And since they are only one strand, there has to be others. One of those strands is that of sea-grass meadows. These "deceptively simple" (Davidson 65) plants play an important part to helping coral reefs thrive, even though their purpose isn't exactly figured out by scientists. Then there's another strand, and this one surprised me the most- the mangrove tree. Mangroves aren't thought of or described as anything pleasant, so how can they be associated with something so beautiful as a coral reefs? The answer lies in the trees' abilities to block and rid salt from their systems, as well as filtering sediment and pollution from land. This provides a "buffer zone between the terrestrial and marine environments." (Davidson 70). Pretty impressive for something seen as such an ugly and disgusting nuisance.

My haiku deck is my representation of this relationship for this 'charismatic ecosystem.' While coral reefs can be described as the "Russian novels of the sea world" (Davidson 71), I hope that this haiku deck conveys some of the passion and colorful-ness that Davidson himself has displayed so fervently in his novel.

I made my key note about how everything is part of one. It's kind of like the lion king to me. Everything has to do with something. Or it's some disney movie like that. I loved this chapter, I think it was my favorite so far. I love how he talks about all the seagrass meadows and the mangroves. I actually found a mangrove on my last vacation to Florida and wondered what the awful smell was and it totally makes more sense. The fact that he talked about how the mangroves and the seagrass protects the coral reefs makes sense because while they're limestone rock they're so fragile. In the ocean its all about relationships and I love it!

Although this chapter wasn't my favorite that I've read so far, I did learn some new and interesting things.. Like what Christmas tree worms are! And just how important sea grass is to the ocean. The reflection strategy that I used for chapter 6 was the visual chapter summary, it tried something new this time. Instead of making my PowerPoint after I read the chapter and trying to remember all that I read, I decided that it would be smart to write some notes as a read along. While reading towards this end of this chapter I came across something that I didn't know. You might think its weird.. But I've never heard of a mangrove! I googled it and saw what is something so unique and cool looking! The one thing I liked a lot about this chapter was that while reading it I felt that I learned a lot!








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