Rainforests - PowerPoint by wanghonghx


• “if the traveller notices a particular
  species and wishes to find more lite it,
  he may often turn his eyes in vain in
  every direction. Trees of varied forests
  dimensions and color ae around him, but
  he rarely sees any one of them
  repeated. Time after time he goes
  towards a tree which looks like the one
  he seeks, but a closer examination
  proves it to be distinct”. A.R. Wallace
• What is it?
  – Vines
• What is it?
  – Tall canopy
• What is it?
  – Buttressed trees
• What is it?
  – Rivers
• What is it?
• What is it?
  – frogs
• What is it?
  – Macaws other
    seed/fruit eaters
• Monkeys
Rainforests…look alike
Rainforest rivers…look alike
Rainforests…smell alike
          Inside a Rainforest
• Structurally very complex
  (physiognomy) with up to 5 layers
  –   Forest floor
  –   Shrub
  –   Mid-canopy
  –   Canopy
  –   Emergents
       Rainforest Diversity
• Comparisons
• Malay Peninsula vs. Britain (2x)
  – S 8000 (1400G, 28 end vs 1430, 620G, 0e)
• Malay vs Denmark (mammals..FGS)
  – 32/104/203      13/32/45
       Rainforest Diversity
• Ecuador
  – 365 vascular plants on 0.1 ha
  – 33% epiphytes, 13% herbs, 10% shrubs and
    9% non-epiphytic lianes
• Costa Rica (100m2)
  – 233 vascular plants, 32 bryophytes (1/6 GB)
• Most of these small (<1m)…but in
  Amazonia found 300/ha of dbh>10cm
       Rainforest Diversity
• What about a typical
  tropical tree?
• Although can be tall and
  wide, most are medium
  and skinny (25-30m)
• Their structure tends
  to reinforce this
      Rainforest Structure
• Many species have
  buttresses and prop roots
      Rainforest Structure
• Function not completely
  understood (perhaps
• Not all species have prop
  roots or buttresses (e.g.
       Rainforest Structure
          trunks and crowns
• Many trees have long, slender boles
• Bark comes in a variety of color and
  textures (although some more common)
• Many trees have a flattened crown
  (think umbrella)
       Rainforest Structure
• Cauliflory – flowers
  and fruits abruptly
  growing from the
  trunk (e.g. cocoa)
• Why? May be due to
  weight, could
  facilitate pollination
  by ___, facilitate
  dispersal by ____.
       Rainforest Structure
• Vastly different?
• No…most are oval, unlobed, smooth
  edged, sharp points at
  end, thick and waxy,
  and generally palmate
       Rainforest Structure
• Flowers do come in many shapes, sizes,
  and colors
          Rainforest Diversity
• Color not random
  – Red, orange and yellow – birds
  – Lavender – insect
  – White – bats or moths
• Smell
  – Fragrant = moths, bees, beetles
  – Musty = bats
• Pollination – many nectar rich…why?
  – Some wind pollinated…who?
        Rainforest Diversity
            fruits & seeds
• Many species produce small to medium-
  sized fruits, but a number a very large
• Palms, the monkey-pot tree, brazil nut
Rainforest Diversity
    fruits & seeds
        Rainforest Diversity
            fruits & seeds
• Large seeds are a major source of food
  for the large mammals (e.g. monkeys,
  bats, peccaries, agoutis) and birds (e.g.
  tinamous, guans, curassows, trogans, and
  toucans) and in flooded forests, some
  fish are important fruit consumers and
  seed dispersers. Insects are frequent
  predators of small seeds
         Rainforest Diversity
• Palms are distinctively tropical
• There are about 1,500 species (550)
• All palms are members of the family Palmae,
  are all monocots, sharing characteristics with
  lilies, orchids and grasses.
• Widely used by indigenous peoples for diverse
  purposes such as thatch, ropes, strings,
  weavings, hunting bows, various food and
        Rainforest Diversity
• Vines are conspicuous,
  abundant, and important in
  the rainforest
• In some forests they are a
  dominant form of biomass
• in Panama, 1ha contained
  1,597 climbing lianas (in
  43% of the canopy)
       Rainforest Diversity
• In the Neotropics,
  there are > 133
  families that have
  climbing members
• Some, lianas,
  entwine themselves
  and dangle from
  the canopy. Others
        Rainforest Diversity
• Lianas get their
  start in gaps where
  they have been
  living as a harmless
• Once in the canopy,
  they can spread
  from tree to tree
        Rainforest Diversity
• Lianas are a growth form, not a family
  of plants and as such, come from a
  variety of families (making the
  identification hard)
• In Panama, a single ha had 1,597
  climbing lianas, 22% of the upright
  plants were lianas
        Rainforest Diversity
• Other vines start on the ground (e.g.
  many philodendrons). Once their seed
  germinates, it sends out its tendrils to
  the shade of a nearby tree.
• Many times as the vine extends into the
  canopy, it is no longer rooted (thus
  becoming an epiphyte)
      Rainforest Diversity
• The most aggressive
  vines are stranglers
  (Ficus spp.)
• About 150 sp
• Many dispersed by
  monkeys or birds
• Consequently, send
  down tendrils to form
  root system
Strangler Fig Sequence
        Rainforest Diversity
• Epiphytes live on other plants
• Although not directly parasitic, they do
  compete for space, light, and water
• Rainforests worldwide (both temperate
  and tropic) abound with epiphytes of
  many different kinds (cloud forests)
• In many lowland forests, ¼ of all plants
  may be epiphytes. Less AB where drier
Rainforest Diversity
          Rainforest Diversity
• Many different plants
  grow epiphytically (e.g.
  lichens, ferns, orchids,
  liverworts, cacti,
• In C and S Am, there
  are estimated to be
  15,500 species
        Rainforest Diversity
• A single tree may
  house a great
  diversity of
  species or simply a
  great abundance of
• Survive by
  trapping soil and
  nutrients from air
        Rainforest Diversity
• Many species have mycorrhizae, which
  aids in the uptake of many nutrients and
        Rainforest Diversity
• Bromeliads are abundant epiphytes in
  almost all Neotropical moist forests
• Leaves of many species are arranged in
  an overlapping rosette to form a cistern
  that holds water and detrital material
• About 2,000 Neotropical
     bromeliads (pineapples)
        Rainforest Diversity
• Epiphytic bromeliads provide a source
  of moisture for many canopy creatures
  (e.g. tree frogs, mosquitos, flat-worms,
  snails, salamanders, and even crabs can
  complete their life cycle in the small
  flower arboreal cisterns.
• One study found 250 animal species
  occurring in bromeliads
        Rainforest Diversity
• Orchids are a global family
  (Orchidaceae) with 25-35k species
• In Costa Rica, 88% are epiphytes,
  others grow as vines
• Many have bulbous stems (called
  pseudobulbs) that store water
• Strong mutualistic relationship with
         Rainforest Diversity
• Cross pollination is done by insects
  (primarily bees)
• Some orchid flowers mimic insects,
  facilitating visitation by insects thinking
  they are meeting a „special‟ friend
• Obvious importance to collectors
• 90 species in the genus Vanilla
Rainforest Diversity
        Rainforest Diversity
species richness and biodiversity
• Appalachians 30 sp/ha
• Tropics 40-100 sp/ha
  – Peru 300 sp/ha
• Brazil 85,000 sp (2x Af, 1.7x Asia, 5x
• How? Lots of rare species (BCI old 500
  trees/151 sp; young 500/115)
• Kapok tree, some legumes, Carribbean
          Rainforest Diversity
             species richness
•   Costa Rica (La Selva) 1,668 sp
•   BCI 1,320 sp
•   Amazon Peru-good soils - 1,856 sp
•   Near Manaus – poor soil – 825 sp
•   Tree sp much greater in Amazon, but
    epiphyte, herbs, and shrubs are greater
    in CAm.
          Rainforest Diversity
            species richness
•   Other groups are equally rich
•   Columbia birds: 1,695 sp
•   Peruvian Amazon (50 mi2) 550 sp
•   La Selva (1,500 ha2) 410 sp
•   North America…700 sp
Rainforest Diversity
  species richness
        Rainforest Diversity
          species richness
• One night 56 sp collected
• Ecuadorian Amazon, one site 81 sp
        Rainforest Diversity
          species richness
• Insects in Costa Rica 550 butterflies
• Peruvian Amazon (Explorers Inn) 1,234
        Rainforest Diversity
           species richness
• Ants – Peruvian Amazon 135 sp
• 43 sp in one tree (Great Britain)
• 163 beetles in one tree (8M)
  – Beetles are 40% of arthropod
    diversity…20M..30M with ground & shrub
• Difficult to comprehend, most are in
  the canopy
• This applies to many groups…
Rainforest Diversity
  species richness
Rainforest Diversity
  species richness
Rainforest Diversity
  species richness
Rainforest Diversity
  species richness

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