|MadSci Network: Zoology|
There are two basic types of flooding in the rain forests. The best known is the large annual flood cycle along the Amazon that corresponds to alternating wet and not-so-wet sesons. The change in depth can be large and the area of ground covered at the height of the flood is immense. However, these floods have been happening on a predictable and regular basis for many years and the organisms that live there are well adapted. There is a very nioce chapter on this process in the book "Neotropical Companion, 2nd edition", by Kricher. It is an excellent and readable source of information on the topics, including the Amazon flooding. These floods come slowly and leave slowly, so larger animals have plenty of time to move. No doubt, many smaller animals, especially invertebrates, will perish, but even they may survive by the timing and location of their resting stages (eg egs or cocoons). The other type of flooding occurs in more mountainous regions of the tropics where flash floods can cause a dramatic increase in water depth over a very short period of time. In this case, many organisms will perish including larger vertebrates. Some will survivie but will be washed down the valleys from thier home. Often the flooding uprots trees and washes out entire floodplains.
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