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Tropical Rainforest Biome

A simple project exploring the characterstics, biodiversity, energy flow, and biogeochemical cycles of the tropical rainforest biome. Credit: Rajat M. and George C.

Rajat Mehndiratta

on 7 February 2011

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Transcript of Tropical Rainforest Biome

Tropical rainforests, which contain 80% of Earth’s biodiversity, are found in tropical wet climates, generally around 28 degrees north or south of the equator, in Central America, South America, . Although they cover less than 6% of Earth’s surface, tropical rainforests produce 40% of Earth’s oxygen.
The temperature of a rainforest generally ranges from 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 93 degrees Fahrenheit (20-34 degrees Celsius) and the average humidity of a rainforest is between 77% and 88%. Tropical rainforests receive an average of 50-260 centimeters of rain annually. So what exactly are tropical rain forests? 57% of Earth's tropical rainforests are in Latin America. King Cobra-Secondary Level Consumer
Uses a lethal venom that kills rapidly
Has a distinctive hood that forms when the cobra is threatened, giving it a larger appearance Bengal Tiger-Tertiary Level Consumer

Strong limbs and a flexible backbone which allow the Bengal Tiger to run quickly and catch prey over short distances
Have soft pads on their feet which allow the tiger to quietly stalk its prey
A number of claws enable tigers to bring down larger prey and climb trees
Description of Tropical Rainforest:
-Located close to equator, between 23.5 degrees north and south
-Two seasons: "rainy" and "dry"; temperature 20-25 degrees Celsius (68-77 degrees), with little variation over the year.
-Around 12 hours of sunlight a day, little variation over the year.
-Nutrient-poor soil with low pH; swift decomposition and soil is prone to leaching
-Annual rainfall generally exceeds 200 centimeters.
-80% of Earth's biodiversity, but 6% of surface area
-Deforestation is a constant threat Toco Toucan-Secondary level Consumer

A wide tail enables the Toco Toucan to stay balanced amongst the foliage.
The noticeable large beak enables the Toco Toucan to give off excess heat, comparable to the function of elephant ears.
The Toco Toucan's feather-like tongue allows it to move food around in its beak. The Tropical Rainforest Biome Biodiversity, Interaction, and Other Aspects of Ecology as they Apply to Rajat Mehndiratta George Chen Period 1 Bio I Friday, February 4, 2011
(Actually Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, due to weather issues) Well, my home... is a tropical rainforest. It's An Amazing Biome Kinkajou-Secondary Level Consumer

A five inch long extrudable tongue allows the Kinkajou to obtain fruit and lick nectar
Sharp teeth allow the Kinkajou to devour meat and insects
A 15-33 inch tail allow the Kinkajou to balance on branches as well as serving as a "fifth limb" in hopping from tree to tree Location Scarlet Macaw-Primary Level Consumer

The noticeable large beak allows the Scarlet Macaw to effectively crush nuts and seeds
Large talons enable the Scarlet Macaw to firmly grasp branches and perches Tropical rainforests are generally located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, 23.5 degrees from the
equator. A more inclusive region ranges from 28 degrees North to 28 degrees South. Oh hi there!
You seem to be new here.
Would you like me to show you around? Brazilian Porcupine-Primary Level Consumer

The sharp spines on the Brazilian Porcupine discourage predators to prey upon it
Four long clawed feet allow the Porcupine to live an aboreal lifestyle
A long, prehensile tail allows the Brazilian Porcupine to grasp branches Empress Cicada-Primary Consumer

A long proboscis allows the Cicada to effectively obtain nectar and honeysap
The 3 ocelli (small eyes) in addition to the 2 large eyes on the head of the cicada give the cicada enhanced vision and a better chance of avoiding predators
The "tymbals" (noisemakers) on the cicada's abdomen allow it to "sing" mating songs, as well as distress calls (made when the cicada is seized by a predator). Brown-throated Sloth-Primary Level Consumer [Heterotroph/Fauna/Herbivore]

As its diet consists of mainly leaves, the sloth has a very large stomach with multiple compartments, which are filled with symbiotic bacteria.
The Brown-throated Sloth's slow metabolism allows it to survive with its leafy diet
The Brown-throated Sloth mantains a low body temperature in order to conserve energy, and helps it to succeed in the rainforest Spider Monkey-Secondary Level Consumer

The Spider Monkey's extremely long prehensile tail allows it to grasp tree branches and suspend itself with ease
The Spider Monkey's disproportionately large limbs allow it to move freely in its aboreal lifestyle Harpy Eagle-Tertiary Level Consumer

The Harpy Eagle's strong hooked beak and 5 inch long talons enable the Harpy Eagle to allows it to quickly tear and kill its prey.
Feet as large as the human hand allow the Harpy Eagle to firmly grasp its prey as well as its perch.
Finally, the relatively small wingspan of the Harpy Eagle (around 7 feet) helps it to swiftly maneuver through the dense foliage of a rainforest. Durian Tree-Producer

The genus Durio is considered to be one of the first groups of trees to rely on animals for seed dispersion. This is accomplished through its distinctive thorny fruit, of which the seeds are not digested. This adaptation allows for increased range and number for the genus and leads to a reliance on the dawn bat, which is the organism responsible for spreading the seeds of the durian tree.

Mangrove Tree-Producer
Aerial roots and buttresses elevate the Mangrove Tree's trunk and foliage well above the waterline
"Breathing" roots enable the Mangrove Tree to grow in anaerobic sediment
By falling off the branches, the salt-loaded leaves of the Mangrove Tree help reduce the amount of salt within the tree Kapok Tree-Producer

Like the tualang, the kapok is an emergent tree, growing to 230 feet in height and being able to obtain sunlight easily to carry out photosynthesis.
The seed pods of the tree are composed of fiber which is buoyant, water-resistant, and resilient, aiding in successful reproduction. Bromeliad-Producer

Bromeliads' waxy leaves form a bowl shape so that they can collect water. This adaptation allows bromeliads to hold several gallons and become miniature ecosystems in their own right, containing beetles, frogs, and other small animals.
Dead bromeliads contribute to the survival of other plants by providing nutrients after decomposing. Bleeding Heart-Producer

Bleeding hearts grow very rapidly and colonize large areas.

Bleeding hearts are named for their leaves, which are large and heart-shaped and turn a bright red color before they fall. Strangler Fig-Producer

The strangler fig is an epiphyte- a type of plant that begins its life on another tree and initially receives its nutrients from falling rain, air, and compost on the tree.
Eventually, the fig smothers its host by growing to the rainforest floor, establishing roots, and growing leaves which are bigger than that of its host tree. Eventually, the host dies and the fig becomes a tree in its own right. Tualang-Producer

The incredible height of the tualang allows for it to receive abundant sunlight for photosynthesis.
As a member of the legume family, the tualang contributes to the soil of its environment by being in a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixating bacteria.

The tualang has a slippery surface, allowing for it to be engaged in a commensalistic relationship with bees as the surface prevents bears from climbing the tree to steal honey. 57% are in Latin America Oldest existing rainforests are in Southeast Asia.
They've existed for 70 million years. Although the number is shrinking rapidly,
rainforests cover 6% of Earth's surface. Tropical Wet Climate Rainforests receive at least 68 inches of annual precipitation.
Generally, at least 120 days are rainy. The temperature remains stable throughout the year, generally ranging from 20 to 34 degrees Celsius (68-93 degrees Fahrenheit). There are two distinct seasons in most rainforests- rainy and dry. There is no seasonality of temperature. Humidity is 77% to 88%. Around half the day is sunlit. The soil at the Amazon
rainforest has a pH of
around 4.5, being acidic.

Due to rain, the nutrients
are also washed out of the
soil, so the majority of nutrients is in organisms. Although rainforests are flat,
many streams and rivers cut
through them, like the 3,000 mile Amazon,
the majority of which is deep enough for an
ocean liner to travel through. Layers because rainforests aren't that simple Emergent: hot temperatures and strong winds are the big challenges for the lofty vegetation which reaches this region, accompanied by fauna such as butterflies, monkeys, and bats. Canopy: As the name suggests, this is a sort of roof over the two layers below. Toucans, snakes, tree frogs, and a variety of other organisms inhabit this area and enjoy the abundant food. Up to 80 meters Up to 35 meters Up to 5 meters Understory: Jaguars, insects, leopards, and plants with large leaves inhabit this area of somewhat scarce sunlight. Forest floor: Little sunlight reaches this far below, so few plants grow here. Decay occurs rapidly. Now, this is a very important area... Rainforests contain 80% of Earth's biodiversity and are often called "Earth's lungs" due to the fact that they're responsible for 28% of oxygen turnover. For humans, they are a major source of medicine. But, due to deforestation, 1.5 acres are being lost every second. And half of all rainforests are gone already. Southeast Asia will likely lose its rainforests- which have endured 70 million years- by 2020. Who lives here? The rainforests may be small, but they're definitely not empty. Orchid-Producer

The bright coloration and attractive smell of these flowering plants attracts a myriad of insects and birds which aid in pollination. Let's begin with the flora. Ribbon Plant/Lucky Bamboo-Producer

It has adapted to indirect sunlight (as little sunlight penetrates all the way to the forest floor) to the point that exposure to direct sunlight causes the flexible leaves to become yellow and combust.
The plant can survive in water for months and is often marketed as an "aquatic plant" due to this special adaptation which allows it to survive in wet areas. If you were to traverse a mere hectare in a tropical rainforest, Lianas-Producer

Beginning life either near the forest floor or at the canopy, lianas (woody vines) extend and drape their trees.
Their method of growth allows them to eventually have access to comparatively large amounts of sunlight. you may encounter as many as 300 distinct species of vegetation! The majority of tree species and vine species on Earth are only to be found in rainforests. But a forest isn't complete without its animals. Food Web Harpy Eagle King Cobra Bengal Tiger Scarlet Macaw Kinkajou Brazilian Porcupine Toco Toucan Brown-throated Sloth Spider Monkey Empress Cicada Mangrove Periwinkle (Kill hatchlings due
to fierce enmity) Chimpanzee Note: As the vast majority of rainforest inhabitants have been excluded from this food web (it's somewhat difficult to depict all the complex feeding relationships occurring in such an environment), it must be noted that there is a plethora of interactions which are not depicted here. Also, some variables, such as the 300 or so plant species consumed by a chimpanzee in a single year and the 300 or so species which exclusively inhabit bromeliads, have been ignored, and do make these relationships seem less complex than they are. Decomposers Bromeliad Bleeding Heart Strangler Fig Kapok Tree Durian Tree Tualang Mangrove Tree Cecropia Orchid Lianas Ribbon
Plant Ribbon
Plant Orchid Tualang Bleeding Heart Mangrove Tree Bromeliad Durian Tree Lianas Cecropia Strangler Fig Kapok Tree Chimpanzee Mangrove Periwinkle Brazilian Porcupine Brown-throated Sloth Empress Cicada Scarlet Macaw Toco Toucan Kinkajou King Cobra Spider Monkey Harpy Eagle Bengal Tiger Only 1% of Solar
Energy makes it into the
ecosystem (even less
makes it into producers at the forest floor). .1% of producer energy
(0.001% of solar energy) 1% of producer energy
(0.01% of solar energy) 10% of producer energy
(0.1% of solar energy) Tropical Rainforest Energy Pyramid Saprophytes,
other fungi,
and bacteria There is much competition occuring
in the rainforest biome (although
no two animals can occupy the same niche).

Organisms such as the harpy eagle and tiger,
chimpanzee and spidermonkey, and numerous
bird species are competing for the same resources.
Often, this competition spurs organisms to kill
and eat each others offspring, as in the case of the chimpanzee,
which kills other monkeys' offspring and steals from birds' nests. Water Cycle There are at least 120 days of rain in a year,
and humidity generally stays at 80 percent
or above. Detritivores (earthworms, etc.) .1% of producer energy
(0.001% of solar energy) .01% of producer energy
(0.0001% of solar energy) Carbon Cycle rainforests are often called "Earth's lungs" due to their vital importance to the carbon cycle. Due to the immense amount of photosynthetic autotrophs to be found in rainforests, rainforests are responsible for 28% of Earth's oxygen turnover. Atmosphere: Carbon dioxide is the fourth most abundant atmospheric element on Earth, constituting roughly 0.0387% the atmosphere.

Carbon concentration above rainforests ranges from 384 ppm to 386.5 ppm. Photosynthesis 6CO2 + 6H2O -(sunlight)> C6H12O6 + 6O2 This chemical reaction, which takes place in the chloroplasts of plant leaves, transforms carbon dioxide and water from the atmosphere and soil into glucose and oxygen, allowing autotrophs like the tualang and durian to produce their own energy. Aerobic Respiration Consumption The carbohydrates from photosynthesis are passed along food webs. C6H12O6 + 6O2 -> 6CO2 + 6H2O Organisms utilize biochemical energy in the organic compounds resulting from photosynthesis through this reaction in their cells which involves the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and waste products. The waste carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere. Decomposition/Deposition After dying, as an organism is broken down, and some of its carbohydrates may journey along with its remnants and be deposited as fossil fuels, which will be released back into the atmosphere due to human or geographic activity (in other areas). Erosion Due to the large amount of rain at a rainforest, the soil is often eroded, causing its carbon to enter the river ecosystem.
From there on, a similar carbon cycle continues and the carbon eventually returns to the atmosphere. Nitrogen Cycle The element carbon is a key element in livving tissue, sekeletons, and vital to the processes of photosynthesis and aerobic respiration. Nitrogen is necessary for amino acids, which are the monomers of proteins. Although tropical rainforests impact the global nitrogen cycle due to their microbial populations, nitrogen is a limiting factor due ot its scarcity, which restuls from the dissolution of nitrogen into water and loss of nitrogen in soil. Atmosphere: Earth's atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, but most organisms are unable to utilize atmospheric nitrogen, so it has to be "fixed" into
compounds to be used in the rainforest
biome. Nitrogen Fixation Bacteria residing in the root nodules of legumes
(such as tualangs) carry out the process of nitrogen
fixation by converting nitrogen gas into ammonia. Nitrogen Fixation In the atmosphere, lightning is also capable
of transforming nitrogen into nitrate and
nitrite. Nitrate and Nitrite Ammonia Denitrification Bacterial
Activity Uptake Waste/Deccomposition Consumption The various autotrophs of the tropical rainforest utilize their roots to obtain nutrients from the soil, amongst them nitrogen compounds. Nitrates and nitrites can be converted back into nitrogen gas by bacterial activity. The nitrogen compounds then move on through the food web as heterotrophs consume autotrophs and other heterotrophs, also acquiring nitrogen compounds. Evaporation & Transpiration Phosphorus Cycle
The sun heats the liquid water on the surface of the rainforest (as well as the bodies of water possibly surrounding it, the liquid water changes into gas, or water vapor. Condensation As the moist air rises, it cools
and condenses (along with dust particles), the result being clouds.
When the water droplets have condensed to become heavy enough, the water droplets fall back to the rainforest biome in the form of precipitation. Precipitation Runoff Much of the precipitation on land runs along the ground surface until it reaches a river, which ultimately reaches a lake/ocean. Consumers are able to directly use water "via" runoff. Seepage & Root Uptake Some of the rain seeps into the soil and becomes groundwater. Plants directly take up this groundwater enter producers through the roots. Absorption Erosion (Runoff) Weathering Weathering agents eventually wear down phosphate-containing rocks and sediment, and phosphate is released. Eroding agents move the phosphate into rivers and streams, where it dissolves. Eventually, the phosphate moves into oceans, where it is utilised by marine organisms. Plants absorb phosphate from the soil/water and bind it into organic compounds. Consumption Organisms then consume producers, and the organic phosphate is passed down to the entire ecosystem via the food web. As organisms and plants die, decomposers return organic phosphate back into rocks and sediment. Decomposition Phosphorus is an essential part of us through the form of life-sustaining molecules, such as DNA/RNA. and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Energy isn't the only thing flowing through an ecosystem. Thanks to biogeochemical cycles, nutrients are constantly recycled. And that... is what really happens at a tropical rainforest. Sources Touchton, Janeene M.; Yu-Cheng Hsu; Palleroni, Alberto (2002). "Foraging ecology of reintroduced captive-bred subadult harpy eagles (Harpia harpiya) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama". Ornitologia Neotropical (The Neotropical Ornithological Society) 13.
Blue Planet Biomes. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2011. <http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/rnfrst_animal_page.htm>.
Mongabay. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2011. <http://rainforests.mongabay.com/ 0407.htm>.
Animal Diversity Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2011. <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/ Ara_macao.html>.
"Spider Monkey: Cebidae Anteles Geoffroyi geoffroyi". Zoo School. Retrieved 2007-10-09. Blue Planet Biomes. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2011.
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