Teaching Tropical Rainforest Biology
A Sample Tropical Rainforest Teaching Unit Outline
- Physical Characteristics of the Tropical Rainforest
- high rainfall
- high amounts of solar radiation
- high average temperature
- high humidity
- little monthly variation in temperature and photoperiod
- comparative climatograms using Works Spreadsheet
- Biological Characteristics of the Tropical Rainforest
- Complex vertical layering of vegetation (leaf size, crown shape, and tree height)
- emergent layer
- the canopy layer
- canopy research techniques: ascenders,
platforms, cranes, balloons, walkways
- epiphytic plants (bromeliads)
- adaptations of canopy animals
- the understory layer: useful plants of the understory: palms and bamboos
- the herbaceous layer: house plants from the rainforest
- the forest floor : soil nutrients, leaching and recycling
- Extremely high species diversity.
- Tropical rainforest and mid-latitude deciduous forest comparisons: plants, herbs, birds and mammals
- Why do tropical rainforests have such great biodiversity?
- the available time hypothesis
- the refugia hypothesis
- the geographic isolating mechanism hypothesis
- Niche specialization
- What is an ecological niche?
- Habitat specialization.
- Feeding specialization.
- Camouflage, protective resemblance, and mimicry