Tropical Rainforest By: Michaela A. Rankins
Description • These are some of the hottest,wettest areas of the world, and receive 200 inches of rainfall per year! • One single hectare (2.47 acres) of tropical rainforest area may contain more than 2000 different species of plant!
Locations • The Rainforests can be found in… • AUSTRALASIA • SOUTHERN ASIA • AFRICA • THE AMAZON • CENTRAL AMERICA
Description of the 3 Levels • We ascend from the rainforest floor and emerge out from the thick canopy overhead. • The unique climate, as well as the many different strata in the one hundred and twenty feet of rainforest trees, allows this to happen. • We encounter different areas, or strata, and in each strata there is a different set of living conditions . • Different groups of animal and plant life specifically tailored for those conditions.
Description of the Canopy • Tropical rainforest canopies are home to the highest diversity of flora and fauna, and represent the largest sink of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. • Because pattern and process or structure and function are linked, understanding the multi-scaled spatio-temporal processes that generate these complex, multidimensional structures may lend insight as to how they are able to support such diversity and productivity.
Howler Monkey • Reddish in body color and black in face, the howler monkey cautions other animals to stay away by sounding terrifying howls at both dawn and dusk. • These noises alert other howler monkeys of the location of their troops and thus reduce potential conflicts between troops. • The male howler monkey has an enlarged goiter-like hyoid bone that allows it to create its unique, voluminous roars.
Description of Understudy • The middle layer, or understudy, is made up of vines, smaller trees, ferns, and palms. • A large number of plants from this level are used as common houseplants. • Because of the small amount of sunlight and rainfall these plants receive, they adapt easily to home environments.
Jaguar • The jaguar is the largest and most powerful cat in the Rainforest. • This cat can weigh up to 350 pounds (159 kg) and grow to a length of six feet (1.8 m) from head to tail. • The jaguar is a top predator who feeds on tapirs, deer, peccaries, sloths, caimans, turtles, fish, and giant otters, and its only natural predator is the Anaconda snake. • It’s spots provide excellent camouflage.
Description of Forest Floor • The bottom layer or floor of the rainforest is covered with wet leaves and leaf litter. • This material decomposes rapidly in the wet, warm conditions sending nutrients back into the soil. • Few plants are found on the floor of the forest due to the lack of sunlight. • However, the hot, moist atmosphere and all the dead plant material create the perfect conditions in which bacteria and other microorganisms can thrive.
Giant Otter • Nicknamed in Spanish "lobos de rio" or "the river wolves," the giant otter is the largest and most formidable otter in the world. • This member of the weasel family can grow up to seven feet long and weigh up to 70 pounds. • The giant otter hunts in packs of four to ten adults and has a remarkable predatory instinct and unusual feeding habits. • Though primarily feeding on fish, the giant otter has been seen attacking and devouring Anaconda snakes and caiman in Manu. • Even stranger, it eats all of its fish prey, including the bones. Using its wolf-like teeth, water current-sensing whiskers, and strong webbed forehands, the giant otter is quite an effective water hunter for the Rainforest.
Facts on Plants • There are more than 20,000 varieties of orchid found in the rainforest. Orchids grow on tree branches, trunks or rocks. • Many fruits, nuts, oils, and other products are produced by plants in the rainforest • Small plants called epiphytes that need more sunlight attach themselves to the trunks and branches of the canopy trees. They never touch the ground, but their aerial roots absorb water from the moist air. Vines that have roots in the ground climb trees of the top layer to obtain the sunlight they require. • Most of the world’s medicines come from the Rainforest.