Interdependence—whereby all species are to part extentbe dependence on one another—is a vital characteristic that the rainforest ecosystem. Biological interdependencytakes many forms in the forest, from types relying on various other speciesfor pollination and also seed dispersal come predator-prey relationship tosymbiotic relationships.

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Agouti in Peru. Photograph by Rhett A. Servant

These interdependent relationships have been emerging for millions of years and type thebasis because that the ecosystem. Each varieties that disappears indigenous the ecosystemmay undermine the survival possibilities of another, if the loss of a keystone species—an organism the links plenty of other species together, lot like the keystoneof one arch—could reason a far-reaching disruption in thefunctioning of the whole system.

For example, Brazil nut trees (Bertholletia excelsa) room dependenton numerous animal types for your survival. These big canopy treesfound in the Amazon rainforest rely onthe agouti, a ground-dwelling rodent, for a vital part of their life cycle.The agouti is the only pet with teeth solid enough to open up theirgrapefruit-sized seed pods. While the agouti eats several of the Brazilnut"s seeds, it also scatters the seeds across the forest by buryingcaches far away indigenous the parental tree. These seed then germinate andform the next generation that trees. For pollination, Brazil seed treesare dependence on Euglossine orchid bees. Without these large-bodiedbees, Brazil nut reproduction is no possible. For this reason, therehas been little success cultivation Brazil nut trees in plantations—they only show up to prosper in major rainforest.

Life in the tropical is competitive and also countless varieties have developedcomplex symbiotic relationships v other types in order to survive.A symbiotic partnership is a partnership where both participant speciesbenefit mutually. Symbiotic relationships appear to it is in the dominion andnot the exemption in the rainforest. Because that example, ants have symbioticrelationships with many rainforest types including plants, fungi,and various other insects. One symbiotic relationship exists in between ants andcaterpillars. Certain caterpillar species produce sweet chemicals from"dew patches" on their backs, upon which a specific ant types will feed. In return, the ants vigorously defend thecaterpillar and have also been observed carrying the caterpillar tothe colony at night because that safety. This relationship appears to be speciesspecific in that only one caterpillar species will cater come a particularant species.

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All tropical tropical are identified by incredible biologicaldiversity. Ar 3 concentrates top top the diversityof the dry rainforest.

Rainforest in Madagascar. Picture by Rhett A. Servant

Review questions:

What is a symbiotic relationship?What is a keystone species?Why room agoutis vital in the rainforest ecosystem?

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