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Tropical Rainforest Biome Research

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Among the terrestrial biomes, the tropical rainforest biome is an ecosystem that covers approximately 7% of Earth’s surface. Geographically, the tropical rainforests are mainly located closely north or south of the equator lines, where the Earth receives the most sunlight. Tropical rainforest are defined by the fact that they are consistently hot and moist. Due to its geographic location near the equator, this type of biomes have precipitation all year-round with little to no dry season. According to Conserve Energy Future organization, on average, the rainforests receives about 12 hours of sunlight daily, causing the temperature to range from 21 to 30 degrees Celsius. However, during nighttime, it experiences the opposite weather condition, in which, it is freezing cold. In addition to it heat component, the tropical rainforest biome is known for its year-round precipitation. Annually speaking, the forests receive approximately 60 to 160 inches on average. In some concentrated areas, they can even experience annual rainfall amounts of 400 inches with the downpour as much as 2 inches per hour. Therefore, precipitation plays a significant role in the environment of the tropical rainforest. In fact, tropical rainforests are classified by the amounts of precipitation they receive. Located closest to the equator, the lowland equatorial evergreen rainforests receives the most rainfall each year, with averages of more than 80 inches annually. The second category is the deciduous and semi-evergreen seasonal forests, which have more variations in wet and dry seasons, with summers having higher rainfall than winters. This category of tropical rainforests can be found in coastal parts of Africa, India, the Caribbean, and parts of Central and South America. Among the remaining categories of tropical rainforests, the cloud forests are found in mountainous areas that are much cooler while flood rainforests closely resembles swamps with high saturation of water. Overall, all types of tropical rainforests have a high average of precipitation compared to other biomes. Consequently from the high amounts of precipitation and consistent year-round hot climate, this type of biome flourishes with biodiversity. It is estimated that tropical rainforests are a habitat to a staggering 15 million different species of plants and animals, making them some of the world’s most diverse locations. In regards to biodiversity, tropical rainforests have four major layers which shapes the biodiversity each layer contains. Being the highest level of the rainforests, the emergent layer consists of towering trees that protrude out of the rest of the plants in the area. The average height of most trees is about 70-100m from the ground level. Being at the top layer, the trees receive direct heat from the sun, causing them to dry out constantly. Rain and wind also tend to strain them out. To adapt to the more extreme weather condition, trees develop small yet very tough leaves coated with thick wax. Furthermore, to grow in the emergent layer, plants and animals should adapt to the bright sun rays and yet strong winds. In addition, due to many branches in the tree canopy are thin and cannot support heavy weights, animals that reside there are usually the flying and the gliding species. Common animals in this layer are birds, tree monkeys, and butterflies. The second layer is the canopy, which is basically a roof formed from the branches and leaves of the trees. Due to most of the plants in this layer reaching over than 120 feet in height,plants at this level also adapt to high sunlight exposure. It basically acts as a shade for the inner layers of the rainforests. As the canopy layer is rich with fruits and nuts, organisms such as insects, various species of birds, lizards, monkeys, rodents, and tree frogs thrive in here. It is believed that almost 90% of rainforest animal species reside in this layer of the rainforest. However, due to the overlapping trees and leaves, even organisms of the same species find it hard to see each other. Hence, they developed adaptations like loud calls and sounds to communicate. Underneath the canopy, the understory layer contains mid-range trees and smaller plants, such as shrugs, herbs, figs, and vines. This area typically only receives approximately 2-15% of the sunlight because of the shade provided by the upper layers, causing most plants and organisms to adapt to low sunlight exposure. Organisms in the understory layer include insects, bees, beetles, butterflies, birds, geckos, bats, monkeys, snakes, lizard, jaguars and tree frogs. As the bottom layer of plant life in the rainforests, the forest floor is the ground layer that is often described as the darkest and most humid layer of a tropical rainforest as it receives less than 2% of the total sunlight. The forest floor receives all fallen leaves, twigs, branches, fruits, and seeds from the three layers above it. All these materials, coupled with the hot and humid weather, allow quick decomposition. As a result, the forest floor is the most nutrient-rich layer of all. The process of decomposition is facilitated by different bacteria and fungi residing in the layer to break down materials and recycle the nutrients. In addition to the various fungus species, all the large terrestrial animals live in this layer. They scour the ground for everything fallen on the forest floor that includes fallen fruits, fungi, and carrion. In a way, this helps to spread the tree density in the rainforest by dropping the seeds via their feces. Thus, the tropical rainforest is high in biodiversity due to its typical climate but also due to its biodiversity, it is one of the world’s most threatened biome. Due to humans’ constant search for the source of lumber, poaching, and space for industrial development, our tropical rainforests are at high risk for

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