in the Rainforest
The tropical rainforests are the richest places in the world
in terms of biodiversity.
A larger variety of animals and plants live here than anywhere else.
The same is true in microbiological terms as
well. As with the animals and plants of the rainforest,
most have never been studied scientifically. They do not even have
of new living species are being made all the time by rainforest researchers.
Many of the new creatures and plants look interesting and their behavior
and lifestyles are fascinating, so they deserve to be preserved and cared
for if only for this reason. But rainforest organisms have
also been found to possess other amazing properties, that are of potential
benefit to mankind. Rubber, medical products and treatments, food-stuffs
such as potatoes, chocolate and spices all originate from the rainforests.
New discoveries are being made regularly.
microorganisms are at the bottom of the food
chain. So what types of microbes inhabit the rainforest?
rainforests are home to an enormous range of fungi,
and bacteria. Many diseases
also originate in the rainforests, caused not only by bacteria and viruses,
but also by protists. These include some of the most dangerous and
frightening - malaria, yellow
fever, ebola and HIV, for instance.
the microbes live
Generally, microbes are found in the lower levels of the
rainforest near the ground. The moss layer that grows in trees and
exposed rocks, shade-tolerant mosses, lichens and fungi.
Below this is the litter layer which consists of dead vegetation (leaves,
branches, twigs), dead animals (mostly insects) and feces, though this
is in small quantities compared with the other matter. Under
this is a humus layer, where worms and other
invertebrate animals feed and turn over the matter. Also here
are billions of bacteria and micro fungi
that decompose the litter (detritus) and recycle its nutrients for the
community. This layer blends into the soil layer, which consists
of inorganic clays, sand, or rock. Overall the organically
active humus layer is just a few centimeters at most. Rainforest
bacteria and fungi are extremely efficient workers!
summarize the microbe activity in the rainforest:
a highly active element in the rainforest and are really the "drivers"
of growth, evolution and the biological cycling rates in the forest, so
what happens when the an area of rainforest has
its trees felled?
and virus (bacteriophage) live in the humus and soil
live in water - ponds, streams and rivers
and molds live on dead matter - animals, wood and other plant remains
- and underground
live in water, on plants and animals and in the soil
and viruses live in animals and plants
classroom activities from Australia
for Global Environmental Education
Tropical Rainforest Biology
development in Forestry
Expedition to the Rainforest
of Soil Microbiology
1999 Satellite Events Enterprises Inc.