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Ecosystems Science Project_The Amazon River

Subject: Science

Michelle Lin

on 13 May 2015

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Transcript of Ecosystems Science Project_The Amazon River

Tropical Rainforest
The Amazon River
By: Michelle Lin
What Is The Amazon Rainforest?
The Amazon Rainforest is the world's largest tropical rainforest, known for its massive bio diverse of species. It covers 2.1 million square miles of land in South America, including its river.
Where Is It?
This rainforest covers about 40% of South America, including countries like Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and Peru.
Map of the Amazon Rainforest located on Earth
The Amazon Rainforest is most famous for their river:
The Amazon River.
This river is nearly 6437 km long and runs along Colombia, Brazil and Peru. The Amazon River is home to nearly 8000 species including animals like catfish, piranhas, stingrays, alligators and sharks etc. There are many interactions (biotic & abiotic) on how these creatures need them to survive.
are important abiotic and biotic factors of the Amazon River, but also in the rainforest itself.

is a process that takes place in the leaves of green plants when the Sun's light is present. The sun transfers the energy to the plant, and takes in carbon dioxide plus water to produce nutrients as food. The water comes from the rain which soaks into the roots of the plants. Research shows that an average of 88% of rain falls in the Amazon depending on each season. Also, this is very important to the river as well because the rain helps clean and filter the river. Life in the river consumes the plants to survive.
The process of photosynthesis
are actually what keeps the river going because without them, life wouldn't really exist in the Amazon.
Living things depend on each other. How? As I've mentioned, plants get the energy from the Sun during the process of photosynthesis and that's how they grow. Then, insects consume those plants and the energy is passed on. The energy keeps transferring from one living thing to the other. For example, the piranha fish will then consume the insects and the food web will continue on. Without the magic of photosynthesis in the first place, there will be plants, no insects, no fish, no Amazon...
living in the river is an important part for them to adapt in this particular ecosystem.
Temperature plays a very important role for the survival of living animals; it is impacted from the appearance of the sun. Temperature helps animals who can't control their own body temperature, such as reptiles in the Amazon River. Us humans can regulate our own body temperature, which is normally 37 degrees Celsius. Reptiles usually live in the warm regions of the world like the Amazon rainforest, particularly near the river, and they look for places to adapt themselves in the environment, like resting on rocks. They will draw in the heat from the sun, then radiate the heat back into its environment. That's how they'll be able to survive.
are also one of the most needed things in almost all different ecosystems, and definitely needed in the biggest rainforest in the world.
When any organism dies, they can be eaten by special consumers (or known as scavengers) and broken down by decomposers. In the Amazon river, decomposers like fungi and worms, they can live among the wet swamps and marshes. The soil are mixed with the decomposers living near the river and the plants use their roots to get the water and nutrients from the soil.
The velvet worm, one of the known types of decomposer living in the Amazon Rainforest
are biotic and abiotic factors that help the growth of other living things. Without them, well, no food web and/or food chains!
Worms are considered one of the most common decomposers in the Amazon that only does their job when a living organism dies, such as animal wastes and dead plants. The velvet worm and/or earthworms that may live beneath the wet soil (dirt) when a plant is no longer living. The worms will break down the elements of that plant and feed off the waste. The nutrients will then return to the soil and the energy continues on and on and on.
Living Organism
Dead Organism (organic material)
Decomposers to the rescue!
*Energy is being passed from one element to the next
Nutrients return to their soil
are secondary consumers that also live among the Amazon river. There are many adaptations that will allow them to live in this ecosystem. One of the adaptations is that they live and they hunt in schools which is very important for them to expand their diet. Piranhas have triangular-shaped razor teeth that allow them to tear flesh very easily from large animals, like cattle, herons, and small crocodiles (caiman).
The Angel Cichlid (angelfish)
is a 2nd level consumer that may live in the Amazon river. Just like piranhas, angel fish have many ways to help them adapt to the environment. One important adaptation is how they survive as a prey. In a dark domain, their body color can become very good camouflage for predators. They could be silver colored with black or brown stripes.
Giant river turtle swimming/walking in the water
Two companion river turtles resting beside the river
Piranhas live in the wild waters
Piranhas are one of the most ferocious fishes that rip all the flesh of every bone
In the ocean, (not the river) angelfish are more vividly colored.
Angelfish come in many vibrant colors including black with yellow stripes
The Amazon River Dolphin
is a tertiary consumer. There are many adaptations that help this species to live in the ecosystem. One important adaptation is how they communicate with one another. Amazon river dolphins have a special way of communicating by using different types of clicks and whistles as a method to signal others in case of emergencies, which is very important. This animal can be in either grey or pink.
Amazon river dolphins ONLY live in fresh waters
Alligators/crocodiles (caiman)
are tertiary consumers that live close to the Amazon river. One type of caiman is the black caiman. The black caiman is the largest predator in the Amazon river, preying on a variety of fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Black caimans live in wet swamps/marshes in the Amazon Basin
The Amazonian Manatee (
Trichechus inunguis
is a herbivore and also the second-smallest member of the manatee family. These manatees eat a variety of aquatic macrophytes such as grass, bladderworts, hornworts, and water lilies etc. Amazonian manatees have the smallest degree of rostral deflection (oral and nasal region), which is an adaptation that helps them feed closer to the water surface.
Bull sharks (
Carcharhinus leucas
are tertiary consumers that lives in warm, shallow waters and they can be found in the Amazon River. These predators can eat almost anything they see including fish, dolphins and maybe even other sharks.
These sharks are extremely ferocious and they are truly fast, and agile predators
Amazonian manatees rely on their fat to reduce heat loss
Daphnia (
are plank tonic crustaceans that are also known as water fleas and live in various aquatic environments such as freshwater lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. In a good environment, some Daphnia are female and reproduce with breeding. When the environment is hard for them, Daphnia will adapt by producing male as well as female embryos.
Male Daphnia are generally smaller in size
Giant river turtles
are the largest secondary consumers that live in the wild including the Amazon river. In the wild, these turtles essentially eat fallen seeds and fruits to adapt to the environment. Others also include aquatic invertebrates, vegetation, and insects.
Anacondas (Eunectes murinus)
are one of the largest snakes in the world that you can find in the Amazon rainforest and also near wet swamps in the river. One of the adaptations of an anaconda is that the eyes and nostrils are on the top of the head; this is so that the snake can see and breathe when most of its body is under water.
Anacondas are strong constrictors, meaning that they can wrap themselves around the prey and suffocate them until they can't breathe.
is an important producer and basically the base of the food chain in oceans, rivers, ponds and streams etc. Algae is a non-flowering plant of a large group that includes seaweed and other single-celled forms. Algae contains chlorophyll but they don't have roots, stems and leaves.
Algae form organic food molecules from carbon dioxide and water through the process of photosynthesis, just like plants on land.
The Amazon Sword Plant (
Echinodorus amazonicus
is a Rosette plant that comes from the
family and lives at the bottom of the Amazon river. This plant can reach approximately 50.8 cm in height under proper water conditions.
Brazilian Pennywort (
Hydrocotyle leucocephala
is a plant that originates from wet marshes and swamps that can be found in Southern Mexico and the Amazon Rainforest. If the plant is in soft water, it will grow slower; but if it's in hard water, it will grow quickly.
Brazilian Pennywort grows best when provided with nutrient rich water, carbon dioxide, and high lighting conditions.
The Velvet Worm (Ecdysozoa)
is a decomposer that lives on forest floors, leaves, fallen trunks, and wet places near the river. Velvet worms eat invertebrates, small mollusks, termites, and isopods.
Velvet worms date back 400 years
Bacteria/fungi and moss
are also common decomposers in the Amazon. Just like velvet worms, they can really live anywhere in the rainforest such as in the wet swamps or fallen dead trees. These decomposers feed off the waste and then return the nutrients to the soil.
Fungi and bacteria can be in the form of mushrooms
Slugs and Snails
can also be forms of decomposers along with worms and mushrooms. Just like all decomposers, they break own the organic matter of dead things, thereby releasing the nutrients and enriching the soil.
In the Amazon Rainforest, plants thrive by converting sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into food, in a process known as
. Once inside plants, carbon moves through the food chains, where the organisms become nutrients including herbivores, carnivores/omnivores and finally, decomposers. As they grow, bits of wood and leaves are shed that eventually decompose on the ground, or get washed into the Amazon river during periods of rainfall. The plant matter floats down from the Amazon River to the ocean, where it eventually becomes buried in the bottom of the sea. Through these living organisms, carbon could be re-released back into the atmosphere through
(where organisms use oxygen to generate energy from nutrients and produce
carbon dioxide
as waste) then released by burning something or broken down into the soil as part of the organism's body. Since carbon is underwater, it can dissolve in the ocean. When the organism's die, their shells and bones settle to the bottom of the river for long periods of time. Under great pressure from the water and sediment, these shells break down and form
limestone rock
. Once it is formed, the carbon usually stay locked in the rock. However, it can dissolve slowly to be released as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, or if the limestone is exposed to certain weather conditions, it can also be dissolved by acid rain.

[Black Caiman]
[Bull Shark]
[The Amazon River Dolphin]
[Decomposers: Fungi, bacteria, velvet worm]
[Amazon Sword Plant]
The Amazon River Dolphin is often injured when encountered by humans because of being those opponents to the fish in the river. Because of this, it was previously listed as vulnerable species due to pollution, overfishing, excessive boat traffic, and habitat loss.
Mining in areas close to the river has been using increased levels of mercury in the water, poisoning the animals in the river. Approximately 130 metric tons of mercury is dumped in the Amazon River each year.
Global warming is increasing the temperature beyond the sustainable levels. meaning that the Amazon river may experience a receding of its water line and possibly cause droughts in some areas of the river. Some of the aquatic life will then have less room to live and the plants might die due to the excessive waterline.
Global warming causes less rainfall during the hotter and dry months, which could easily affect many Amazon rivers and other freshwater systems, and the people rely on these sources.
Firstly the sun gives energy to the Amazon Sword Plant (primary producer) using photosynthesis, and the primary consumers like the insects will consume the plant and the energy is passed. Next, the piranha will consume THAT insects and the energy will continue transferring. Then the anaconda comes and eats the piranha, getting the energy that came from the plant. After, the jaguar will consume the anaconda. Ultimately, the jaguar dies, then a decomposer like worms will break down the organism's body, and the nutrients will return to the soil and it will start all over again...
[Angel Cichlid]
A primary producer takes in carbon dioxide during the process of photosynthesis. During the process, they produce oxygen. Once they produce it, an animal will inhale the oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. For example, the Amazon Sword Plant will inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. A jaguar will inhale the oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. This is how living things live and it will continue...
The Amazon Basin is home to thousands and thousands and maybe millions of species around the world either in the forest or in the river. Nearly one-third of the world's animal species can be found in the Amazon The Amazon runs 6868 km/4000 miles long. The amount of space it covers varies in the cooler and hotter months. This river is the largest reservoir of fresh water on the planet and about 1/5 of all running water in the world flows through the Amazon. Like I've said, the Amazon river is home to many species from around the world. Without this river, where would all the animals go? Many would die without water and even worse, they'll just scatter everywhere because think about it: 1/3 OF THE WORLD'S ANIMAL POPULATION/SPECIES.


Prezi by: Michelle L.
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