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Biomes of Panama
Transcript of Biomes of Panama
December 10th, 2013
4 Major Biomes in Panama
Panamanian Dry Forest
Lowland Moist Forests/Moist Forest
Did you know: Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic.
Prevailing Winds in Panama
Northerlies and North Easterlies during most of the year, South Westerlies during Autumn
Late Autumn is the rainy season, Southwest Pacific winds bring some precipitation to Pacific Lowlands
Rainfall twice as heavy on Caribbean side than Pacific Side
Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is where North and South trade winds meet, creates wet and dry season as ITCZ moves following the movement of the sun
There are 2 major currents that affect Panama...
NW from South American coast
Brings warm water up from the equator
Creates a sub-current off of northern Panamanian coast
Warms Panamanian climate by carrying up warmer air and warm water
Warms up climate of Panama - brings warm air and warm rain
Runs West to East between North and South Equatorial Currents
Called countercurrent because it runs against the main Equatorial Current
Intensifies salinity on Panama's west coast
Runs from 3 degrees North Latitude to 10
degrees North Latitude, which is the approximate location of the Doldrums
Did you know: Although Panama is the most industrialized Central American country, it has the lowest population.
Precipitation and Temperature in Panama City, Panama
Found on Pacific coast of Panama (Southern coast)
Climate in Mangroves
Dry to rainy humid during rainy season (May-Dec), much hotter during dry season
High evapotranspiration rates due to temperature, extreme dry seasons can lead to water deficit
Strong eastern winds are created by low pressure systems, winds damage mangroves
El nino - band of abnormally warm water temperatures that causes climatic changes in Pacific Ocean
Most soil is dry, but small wetland ecosystems periodically release water during dry season
Coast of Pacific Ocean - water is warm, shallow, mangroves often get fresh water from stream, pond, mouth of rivers, affects salinity
3 main types of mangroves, red, black, and white, all grow to 10-20 meters tall
Not much plant life other than mangroves, reeds and ferns
Avicennia Tonduzii - regionally endemic
Mangroves essential to environment because they provide cover and food, prevents erosion/stabilizes soil
Adapted to tolerate salt water
Adapted ability to excrete excess salt
Adapted thicker leaves to prevent fresh water loss, protect against salt water
Adapted to excrete excess salt out through salt glands
- Crocodiles, Herons (grey, blue, white), Nighthawk, Grey Snapper, Mangrove Anole
- Roseate Spoonbill, Spotted-Winged Grasshopper, Seaside Meadow Katydid, many, many insects
- Green Iguana, Mangrove Tree Crab, Brown Booby, Pygmy Kingfisher, Stork, Racoons
Panamanian Dry Forests
Why did the pine tree get in trouble?
Because it was being knotty!
Grow 0 to 800m above sea level
Temperature consistent at about 27 degrees Celsius (80 F)
Approx. 59" of rainfall each year, less than half of Caribbean coast.
Most rain blocked by mountains in Central Panama and on Azuero peninsula
Not humid, but dry air
Mostly deciduous trees that shed vegetation in dry season, trees rarely grow taller than 20m
Low flora diversity, most dominant tree is the Caesalpinia coriaria, a leguminous tree
Lozania pittieri is another dominant tree
During dry season, plants lose leaves and allow sunlight to hit forest floor, allows shrubs and bushes to grow
Teak, Mountain Ebony conserve water during dry periods
Over 519 animals with vertebrae in Panamanian Dry Forests
Carnivores - Crocodile, Caiman, Glass Frog, Giant Anteater
Herbivores - Rhinoceros Iguana, Leatherback Turtle, Brown Wood Turtle
Omnivores - Common Slider, Yellow Isthmus Rat, Spider Monkey, Green Macaw
What did one tidepool say to the other tidepool?
Show me your mussels!
What did the raincloud wear under his rain jacket?
Grow from 1,640 ft to 5,900 ft
78" to 150" of precipitation per year
Called 'cloud forests' because fog settles at tree level and looks like clouds
Cooler temperatures, 62 degrees F to 78
Usually warm and dry, but wet and cooler in winter
Montane forests have many smaller ecosystems within - marshes, swamp forests, pre-montane wet forests, cloud forests, elfin forests, but primarily semi-deciduous tropical moist forests
Most common trees are pochote, parrot bush, platypodium, and quercus costaricensis
Most prevalent shrub is the Mabea shrub
Moss, ferns, and lichen
30% of flora is endemic to Montane Forests
Mabea shrub fruit
Animals of the Montane Forest
Central America is a land bridge between North and South America, the mix of species created many species endemic to Panama that are now in the Montane Forests
770 different fauna species in Montane Forests, including over 150 species of butterflies
Primary Carnivores - Puma, Jaguar, Ocelot, Margay
Herbivores - Violet-Capped hummingbird, Teerunner, members of the Tapaculo family and the Tanager family
Omnivores - Night, Howler, & Spider Monkeys, Geoffroy's Tamarin, Bare-shanked Screech Owl
Lowland Moist Forests
What happens when a frog's car breaks down?
He gets toad away.
Type of Tropical Rainforest
7% land surface is rainforests, but produce 50% of the world's oxygen
El Climato (Climate)
Lowland Moist Forests don't grow much higher than 200 m elevation
Average Temperatures 68 degrees F. to 93 degrees F.
Lots of rain - during the rainy season it usually is clear in the morning, rains for 1 or 2 hours in the afternoon, and then clears up again in the evening
Anywhere from 78" to 250" annual rainfall - can rain at a rate up to 2" per hour
Rainwater washes out most nutrients in soil
Forest is damp, hot, and humid
50% of precipitation comes from its own evaporation
Emergent: 200 ft +, only some trees reach this layer
Canopy: 150 ft, Blocks most light
Subcanopy: 70% of moist forest flora and fauna live here and in canopy
Understory: Shadowy, small trees/ferns, plants don't need much light, 1-2% of sunlight reaches here
Floor: Wet, dark, things decompose
Epiphytes (plants that grow on other plans) live here, most common epiphytes are orchids, bromelieads, ferns, philodendrons, mosses
Many vines; bole climbers, stranglers, and lianas (90% vine species grow in tropical rainforest)
Vines used for medicine, foods, poison, construction materials, and hallucinogens.
Most common trees are Big-leaf Mahogany, Brazil Nut tree
Rainforests being chopped down for expensive and gorgeous woods
Mahogany tree in Lowland Moist Forest with Vines, Moss, and Lichen
Carnivores - members of cat family,(jaguar, puma), anteaters
Herbivores - Iguanas, many insects, giant millipede, many butterflies and beetles
Omnivores - Howler Monkey, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Pygmy Marmoset, Tree Frog, Golfito Rubber Frog
Many endemic birds, including Baird's Trogon, Brown-Backed Dove, Currasow, Garden Emerald, and Charming Hummingbird.
Endemic Mammals: Underwood's Pocket Gopher
Endemic Reptiles: Blair's Bachia, Panamanian Earth Snake, Savage's Earth Snake
Methods of Survival
- animals such as lizards, anteaters, hermit crabs, dig tunnels underground where it is cooler, and stay underground during the hottest part of the day, mainly used by animals in open areas
- Moist Forest plants have special leaves so that they can get rid of excess water easily. These leaves are waxy and have a pointed end so that the water can run off, prevents moss/fungi from growing on leaves in hot and humid conditions; Fig trees, Bo tree
- Thick roots/ ridges near bast of trees that widen base and provide tree with extra stability, rainforest soil is wet and loose, rainforest trees don't have deep roots; Arjun, Cebia, and Fig trees
Use of Trees
- Forest animals, including sloths and monkeys, live in trees to avoid predators on forest floor, trees provide food, cover, and camouflage.
- Lots of precipitation in Panama, without water entire climate would change, no growth would occur without water, dry season droughts create problems, Panamanians in rural areas collect and drink rainwater.
- Temperature stays approx. 80 degrees year round, so no extreme season changes, important because animals don't have to migrate because they are all adapted to living in hotter conditions
- Panama gets 12 hours of light/day, creates thick, hot jungles as plants compete for light, also creates biological rhythms
- Altitude creates different ecosystems living at different elevations, very hilly and mountainous in Panama, which widens Panama's ecological diversity
- One volcano in Panama, Volcan Baru, last major explosion in 500 AD, wiped out lot of life, created volcanic sand and debris that is now on some of Panama's beaches
Another way that water helps Panama is through the Panama Canal - the Panama Canal uses lakes, rivers, and the canal to operate, and this is Panama's main source of income.
Photos from Panama
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