An introduction to our Tropical Biodiversity greenhouse
In this small greenhouse is a collection of living things that will help you understand and appreciate the huge diversity of life in the tropics. Each area has a theme: Crops, Low nutrient habitats, Africa, Asia/Australia, America, and each displays a relevant range of species. The emphasis for our greenhouse is ‘hands-on’ and there is opportunity to touch, smell, and even taste, some of the plants. To this end we use no pesticides at any stage on the plants to ensure there is no risk of residue.
The greenhouse is equipped with WiFi on the University system and this allows us to interact with both living plants and the web when learning. One of my favourite web pages for use in the glasshouse is the ambient rainforest sound effects at http://forest.ambient-mixer.com/island-jungle where users can mix a series of noises to create a unique background audio to the glasshouse visit.
The Earth’s tropical regions are between 23°27′ North and South of the equator. Land areas include parts of South and Central America, Africa, Asia and northern parts of Australia. At sea level the temperatures are commonly between 25°C and 35°C year round but at high altitudes, even on the equator, there may be regular night frosts. Rainfall and humidity also vary substantially.
While the structure of tropical forests may be similar around the world, the species composition can be very different; in the Neotropics (Americas) many epiphytes are bromeliads while in Asia ferns fill a similar niche. Dominant trees in Africa and America are commonly legumes while Asia has dipterocarps and Australia has dipterocarps and Myrtaceae. All these tropical areas have palms and trees of the Moraceae, including figs which have a particularly crucial role as fruit providers for a great many mammals and birds.
You can learn more about the species you see here by reading the signage and linking through to the supporting web pages.
The QR code given here can be copied and used elsewhere to link through to this page.#
Tweets use #RUTropical
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To arrange a school or community visit to the greenhouse please contact the University Community Liaison Officer Ann Westgarth