Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

FOR SCIENCE!
Post Reply
JDaileyGreatLakes
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:53 pm

Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

Post by JDaileyGreatLakes » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:22 am

In this alternate scenario, five million years ago, a mass extinction hit Earth. Not a massive volcanic eruption or a devastating bolide impact, but a sudden cold snap, a transition from Miocene hothouse to Pleistocene icehouse geologically quicker than a human can say "Hi."

Half of all terrestrial species would perish in this catastrophe, and life confined to the pantropics (strictly tropical, with no other considerations of habitat) would be hit hardest. Five tropical plant species out of eight would become extinct, taking a lot of the most specialized invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals with them.

The most possible result of this aftermath are plants and animals from the subtropics (like Florida, South Africa, southern China and the Mediterranean coast) migrating to and colonizing the tropics.

Now the only difference I know between tropics and subtropics is that subtropical ecosystems are seasonal (wet/dry cycles), whereas tropical ecosystems usually aren't. But is that the only difference between the two merely similar zones? Or are there other differences that I should look out for?

User avatar
Prudentia
Posts: 3947
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:56 am

Re: Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

Post by Prudentia » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:20 am

JDaileyGreatLakes wrote: Now the only difference I know between tropics and subtropics is that subtropical ecosystems are seasonal (wet/dry cycles), whereas tropical ecosystems usually aren't. But is that the only difference between the two merely similar zones? Or are there other differences that I should look out for?
While that is typical, it is not quite that simple. Tropical systems can also be highly seasonal, look at India, parts of Indonesia, and Madagascar. Depends on the body of water they are by. The Namib Desert is a desert, but usually gets water every in the form of fog for over half the year, not tied well to seasonal cycle, but to the currents and trade winds.
Subtropics are really just tropical areas with less annual average rainfall, and more overall variation temperature. You may want to redefine to yourself what you mean as subtropical.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subtropics
Black Rockfish, Sebastes melanops, ~12 inches, of the coast of Newport, Oregon.

JDaileyGreatLakes
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:53 pm

Re: Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

Post by JDaileyGreatLakes » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:32 am

"Subtropical" as in outside Cancer and Capricorn.

User avatar
Prudentia
Posts: 3947
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:56 am

Re: Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

Post by Prudentia » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:48 am

JDaileyGreatLakes wrote:"Subtropical" as in outside Cancer and Capricorn.
Well, with that definition their is a lot of variation within Subtropical. That is defining it as a latitude rather than a biome, which presents issues for generalization due to the variation. The inner reaches of the Sahara get no rainfall whatsoever. While Eastern India gets constant rainfall, western India and experiences severe monsoonal seasons. Just too much variation to generalize anything as subtropical can be a character of any number of biomes. generalizing within a biome is easy, but generalizing with any number of biomes is difficult to do with any degree of accuracy.

For example, due to cold, less rain would fall, but the water would remain available, leading to the decrease of all forested areas, tropical, subtropical, montane, tundra, and temperate. However, the longer availability of water would create swamps and marshes, and cause deserts to retreat (in general). Rain shadow effects would become more pronounced, making some deserts larger (mostly ones caused by rain shadow effects). Other places, would remain unchanged, like the Namib Desert which is the oldest desert on the planet. A change in the temperate latitudes would effect how the subtropical latitudes change and vice versa.

For your own ease of writing and accuracy with speculation, I would recommend using biome definitions, and examining each biome differently.
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/glossary/gloss5/biome/
^Good Read^

As you can see in the chart below, Grassland, desert, savanna, Tropical scrub and woodland, Tropical seasonal Forest and Tropical can all be found in the "subtropical" latitudes. Which is six out of ten. Climate change would and does affect all of them differently.
Attachments
bscale.jpg
Most common illustration used in ecology classes to discuss biomes.
bscale.jpg (19.17 KiB) Viewed 7638 times
Black Rockfish, Sebastes melanops, ~12 inches, of the coast of Newport, Oregon.

JDaileyGreatLakes
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:53 pm

Re: Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

Post by JDaileyGreatLakes » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:39 pm

In that case, I am after the subtropical ecosystems that most resemble a pantropical rainforest, like the Florida Everglades, the forests of the Mediterranean coast and the Northern Indochina Subtropical Moist Forests.

User avatar
20 characters!
Posts: 19203
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:08 am
Location: North America, the best and worst bit of it.
Contact:

Re: Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

Post by 20 characters! » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:26 pm

I have some doubts that everything in the subtropics would just "die off".

Especially things like burrowing rodents, sound like they would benefit from this in all likley hood.

I'm sure a decent number would adapt rather than migrate. And of course you just created psuedomammoths in the blink of an eye.
youtubeuserSara3346
20 characters! wrote:*explodes into a gore shower
combi2 wrote: ... thought that all cows could produce unlimited antibodies,boy am i a retard.
combi2 wrote:you can`t thats not how humans work
Grockstar wrote:Bats it is then. They are the poor man's snake.
ImageImageImage

User avatar
Prudentia
Posts: 3947
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:56 am

Re: Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

Post by Prudentia » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:56 pm

JDaileyGreatLakes wrote:In that case, I am after the subtropical ecosystems that most resemble a pantropical rainforest, like the Florida Everglades, the forests of the Mediterranean coast and the Northern Indochina Subtropical Moist Forests.
The forests would retreat, creating more tropical monsoonal grasslands (also known as Savanna), while subtropical forests would a reduction of rainfall and a shift to cold scrub forest/ grasslands.
Black Rockfish, Sebastes melanops, ~12 inches, of the coast of Newport, Oregon.

JDaileyGreatLakes
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:53 pm

Re: Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

Post by JDaileyGreatLakes » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:53 pm

No, no, the question is whether or not seasonalities are the only differences between subtropical and pantropical rainforests, or if there are other differences to consider.

User avatar
Prudentia
Posts: 3947
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:56 am

Re: Tropical vs. Subtropical Rainforests

Post by Prudentia » Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:15 pm

JDaileyGreatLakes wrote:No, no, the question is whether or not seasonalities are the only differences between subtropical and pantropical rainforests, or if there are other differences to consider.
No, temperature, rainfall, soil types, and weather patterns all vary as well. Tropical and Temperate rainforests have so many trees that they make their own rain, creating high humidity through evapotranspiration. sub-tropical forests are less dense, thus do not create high humidity conditions, but low humidty conditions resulting in less rain, and less plant growth. Thus more nutrient rich soil.
Black Rockfish, Sebastes melanops, ~12 inches, of the coast of Newport, Oregon.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest