Tropical RainforestsMalaysia Bat Education Adventure Texas Tech University Dr. Mark A. McGinley
Rainforests ► Rainforests are one of the important biomes on the earth. ► Rainforests are found where there is a lot of precipitation So it is very wet
Tropical Rainforests► Tropical rainforests are found in areas with high precipitation and high temperatures.
Tropical Rainforests► Today most tropical rainforests are found in Central America The Amazon Basin in South America Africa Southern Asia Australasia
Tropical Rainforests and Biodiversity► More species of animals and plants live in tropical rainforests than any other place on earth. Although tropical rainforests cover only about 6% of the earth’s surface half of the animal and plant species found on earth live in tropical rainforests!!!!
What is it like in the tropical rainforest?► When the environment is wet and warm there are almost perfect conditions for plant growth.► Tropical rainforests have lots of plants!!!
Brief Review of Plants► You get the energy and nutrients that you need from the food that you eat and the water that you need by drinking.► Plants don’t eat or drink, so how do they get their nutrients, energy, and water Get energy from the sun ► Photosynthesis turns energy in light to energy in sugar Get nutrients and water from the soil ► Pick up nutrients and water from the soil using their roots
Rainforest trees can be very tall► Because there is so much water, plants are able to grow very tall.► The tallest plants are able to grow up to where there is lots of light.► Shorter plants must grow in the shade.
Rainforest Layers ► There are many different layers of plants in a tropical rainforest.
Emergent Layer► The emergent layer is made up of the tallest trees that grow larger than any of the other trees.► Can be over 80 meters tall.► It is good to have your leaves in the emergent layer because there is lots of sunlight
Canopy ► The canopy layer is where most of the leaves in a tropical rainforest are found. ► Very dense vegetation.
Canopy► The canopy is very dense, so it blocks out a lot of the light.
Understory► Shorter plants living in the understory of the emergent and canopy layers do not get as much light so they have to be able to grow in the shade. Only about 1% of the sunlight reaches the understory level.
Forest Floor ► The forest floor is covered with dead leaves. ► These dead leaves will decompose (rot) and return the nutrients that they contain to the soil.
Nutrient Cycle Rainforest trees Dead leaves and wood decomposers SoilPlants pick up nutrients from the soil with their roots. When leaves die, they carrynutrients with them as they fall to the ground. Decomposers such as fungibreak down the dead leaves and return the nutrients to the soil.
Decomposers► Decomposers such as fungi break down dead material and return nutrients to the soil.► Because fungi grow best when it is warm and wet, decomposition occurs quickly in tropical rainforests.
Plant Adaptations► Plantsgrowing in the tropical rainforest have many adaptations that help them survive and reproduce.
Woody Trunks ► In order to reach the emergent layer, plants must grow very tall ► Tall plants must have strong woody trunks in order to support the growth Costs lots of energy and resources to make large woody trunks ► Lots of wood in tropical rainforest That’s why foresters like to cut down rainforests ► Lots of wood
Buttress Roots► Tallplants (emergent layer) are so tall that they are unstable and are at risk of falling down► Some plants have buttress roots Large roots that spread out and help support the tree from falling over
Lianas ► It costs a lot of resources for plants to make woody trunks to support their leaves in the emergent and canopy layer ► Lianas (vines) use other trees to support their growth
EpiphytesEpiphytes grow attached to other trees in the rainforest.They do not have to pay to make all ofthe wood that would be needed to letthem grow so high above the ground.Epiphytes are very common in tropical rainforests.
Leaves► Environmental conditions vary greatly between plants living in the emergent layer and those living in the understory Emergent layer ►Bright sunlight, very windy Understory ►Shade, calm
LeavesEmergent and canopy leaves are Understory leaves are large becausesmall because they get lots of light. they live in the shade.
Pollination ► Flowers of rainforest plants are pollinated by a variety of animals including insects, birds, and bats.
Rafflesia► Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world, can be almost 3 feet in diameter Found in Malaysian rainforests► These beautiful flowers smell like rotting meat which attracts the flies and beetles that act as pollinators.
Seed Dispersal► Many plants in the tropical rainforest produce fruits to attract animals to act as seed dispersers The animals consume the seeds when the animal eats the fruit but the seeds get passed out through the animals gut.
Seed Dispersal► Because they produce ► Because they live seeds where there is where there is little lots of wind, emergent wind, plants in the trees produce seeds understory produce that are dispersed by seeds that are the wind. dispersed by animals.