MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Re: Does the fog and rain affect the animals in the rainforest in a bad way?

Date: Sat Jul 25 14:16:05 2009
Posted By: Michael O'Donnell, Post-doctoral researcher
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 1242341466.En

That is a difficult question to answer, because there are just so many
animals. According to Wikipedia, the Amazon rain forest alone has ~2,000
species of birds and mammals, which is nothing next to the roughly
2,500,000 species of insects found there. These species will have different
requirements for survival. 

If, hypothetically, one million species of insects were affected in a "bad"
way by rain, you would still conclude that most species were not affected. 

It is also tough to know what you mean by "affect... in a bad way." For
instance, lots of birds might stop flying while it is actually raining,
preferring to wait out the storm. Is that a bad thing? Sure, they could
have more time to find food if they could keep flying, so you could call it

On the other hand, the rain forests are so productive, with so much to eat
and able to support so many species partly due to the high rainfall. When
you look at it that way, the rain is absolutely a good thing for everything
that lives in the rain forest. Even if an individual insect that gets
smacked by a raindrop and eaten while it is lying on the ground would
probably say "rain is bad," the millions of other insects flying around not
getting hit would disagree. 

I hope this helps. Ecology is a really complicated subject because so many
factors interact. That is also what makes it so fascinating to study.


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