How are Plants Adapted to the Rainforest?

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1 How are Plants Adapted to the Rainforest? Curriculum Links AQA Entry Level: Unit 6 Ecosystems: The adaptations of the vegetation to the climate AQA GCSE A: Living World: The vegetation adapts to the climate and soils and is in harmony with it AQA AS/A Level: Ecosystems: Change and Challenge: Ecological responses to the climate and soil moisture budget adaptations by vegetation and animals Edexcel Entry Level: Ecosystems: Recognise and describe the special features of tropical rainforest trees that help them thrive

2 Summary The aim of this self-guided resource is to encourage pupils to think about how different plants have adapted to living in the Tropical Rainforest. Two versions of some of the worksheets are available for this resource depending on the ability of the pupils in your group one slightly easier, one slightly more difficult. The first part of this resource can be completed as a pre-visit activity in which pupils research the basic adaptations that vegetation found in the rainforest might display. Depending on ability pupils can either research the adaptations listed to discover the purpose of these for themselves or match each adaptation to the descriptions given an answer sheet has been provided for your convenience. Pupils can then look out for these adaptations either in Tropical World at Marwell Wildlife or by researching rainforest vegetation on the internet. Two activities are suggested for doing this one in which pupils record information about the plant they identify and its adaptations in a tabular format, and one in which pupils practice the skills of annotated sketches to make a record of different plants and their adaptations (this could be good preparation for future fieldwork/gcse Coursework/Controlled Assessments) an example of Devil s Ivy is given. Pupils could do one or both of these activities. In addition to the example of Devil s Ivy as an annotated photo, a number of other examples of Tropical Rainforest plant species can be found at the bottom of this document all of which can be seen in Marwell s Tropical World. A follow-up activity is suggested in which pupils rank the importance of the adaptations they have discovered to encourage pupils to think about these adaptations at a deeper level. Two versions of this are provided one with additional structure to help pupils who need it to organise their response. Finally, this pack also includes some exam style questions based on this topic to provide pupils with some practice in using their acquired understanding to answer such questions. There are two sets of questions one with sentence starters to support pupils who need it and one without.

3 How are Plants Adapted to the Rainforest? Match the adaptations to their descriptions Purpose: Purpose: Buttress Roots Leaf Angling Purpose: Purpose: Stilt Roots Drip Tips Purpose: Purpose: Red Leaves Epiphytes Purpose: Purpose: Lianas Thin Bark

4 How are Plants Adapted to the Rainforest? Match the adaptations to their descriptions Buttress Roots Stilt Roots Red Leaves Lianas These plants have their roots in the ground and use other trees to climb up into the rainforest canopy to maximise the sunlight they receive. Many start life in the canopy before sending roots down to the ground Rainforest soils are very thin and therefore shallow roots are needed to soak up nutrients in these thin soils. Since trees in the rainforest grow very tall many over 30m tall in the canopy layer massive buttress roots form to give these tall trees extra stability in the shallow soils In a similar way to buttress roots, these provide tall rainforest trees with support as they are anchored in the shallow rainforest soils Young rainforest plant saplings may have these to give them protection from the sunlight whilst their internal organs for photosynthesis are still developing. They act as a sunscreen by reflecting red light whilst the leaf is still young Leaf Angling Drip Tips Epiphytes Thin Bark Leaves often have a waxy surface with pointed tips at the end to enable excess rainwater to run-off easily. This is important because it prevents the growth of algae, which if able to grow would block out sunlight and reduce a plants ability to photosynthesise Rainforest trees don t need thick bark to prevent moisture like those in temperate deciduous forests there is always plenty of rain and thus moisture available. Therefore bark is often thin and smooth the smoothness may also make it more difficult for other plants to grow on tree surfaces Leaves are often arranged at different angles so that a plant avoids shading its own leaves important in rainforests where competition for light is intense These plants live on the surface of other plants, mostly tree trunks and branches. This allows them to make the most of the sunlight in the canopy layer

5 How are Plants Adapted to the Rainforest? - ANSWERS Match the adaptations to their descriptions Buttress Roots Stilt Roots Red Leaves Lianas These plants have their roots in the ground and use other trees to climb up into the rainforest canopy to maximise the sunlight they receive. Many start life in the canopy before sending roots down to the ground Rainforest soils are very thin and therefore shallow roots are needed to soak up nutrients in these thin soils. Since trees in the rainforest grow very tall many over 30m tall in the canopy layer massive buttress roots form to give these tall trees extra stability in the shallow soils In a similar way to buttress roots, these provide tall rainforest trees with support as they are anchored in the shallow rainforest soils Young rainforest plant saplings may have these to give them protection from the sunlight whilst their internal organs for photosynthesis are still developing. They act as a sunscreen by reflecting red light whilst the leaf is still young Leaf Angling Drip Tips Epiphytes Thin Bark Leaves often have a waxy surface with pointed tips at the end to enable excess rainwater to run-off easily. This is important because it prevents the growth of algae, which if able to grow would block out sunlight and reduce a plants ability to photosynthesise Rainforest trees don t need thick bark to prevent moisture like those in temperate deciduous forests there is always plenty of rain and thus moisture available. Therefore bark is often thin and smooth the smoothness may also make it more difficult for other plants to grow on tree surfaces Leaves are often arranged at different angles so that a plant avoids shading its own leaves important in rainforests where competition for light is intense These plants live on the surface of other plants, mostly tree trunks and branches. This allows them to make the most of the sunlight in the canopy layer

6 Tropical World Activity 1 Task: Use the table below to record some of the adaptations the plants in Marwell s Tropical World have for surviving in the rainforest. Name of Plant Quick Sketch/Description Adaptations to the Rainforest Example Devil s Ivy Large green heart-shaped leaves leaf size increases with height; Climbs up other trees (Epiphyte) Large leaves to capture sunlight; leaves angled away from each other to avoid shading its own leaves; drip tips to get rid of excess rainwater; aerial roots for climbing to reach sunlight in canopy layer

7 Tropical World Activity 2 Task: Draw 3 annotated sketches to show how 3 plants in Marwell s Tropical World are adapted to the Rainforest. Below is an example. Devil s Ivy Epipremnum pinnatum Aureum Epiphyte Climbs up the trunks of other trees by attaching itself to them with aerial roots in order to reach light in the canopy Waxy Drip-Tip Leaves These enable excess rainwater to run-off, preventing the growth of algae which would reduce light to the plant and therefore its ability to photosynthesise if allowed to grow Leaf Angling Leaves arranged at different angles to avoid shading its own leaves in order to capture as much sunlight as possible Leaf Size Leafs become larger as the plant rises to make the most of increased sunlight

8 Tropical World Activity 2 Plant Name:

9 Tropical World Activity 2 Plant Name:

10 Tropical World Activity 2 Plant Name:

11 How are Plants Adapted to the Rainforest? In the space below rank the adaptations on the left in the order of how important you think each is (1 = Most Important, 8 = Least Important). You must justify your order. Buttress Roots Stilt Roots Red Leaves Leaf Angling Drip Tips Epiphytes My order justified... I think the most important adaptation is because Lianas Thin Bark I think the least important adaptation is because

12 How are Plants Adapted to the Rainforest? In the space below rank the adaptations on the left in the order of how important you think each is (1 = Most Important, 8 = Least Important). You must justify your order. Buttress Roots Stilt Roots Red Leaves Leaf Angling Drip Tips Epiphytes My order justified... Lianas Thin Bark

13 Exam Style Questions 1. Explain one way in which rainforest trees are adapted to their climate (2) 2. Explain one way in which rainforest trees are adapted to their soils (2) 3. Describe and explain three adaptations plants might have to help them survive in the rainforest (6) 1. Adaptation:... This is useful in the rainforest because Adaptation:... This is useful in the rainforest because Adaptation:... This is useful in the rainforest because......

14 Exam Style Questions 1. Explain one way in which rainforest trees are adapted to their climate (2) 2. Explain one way in which rainforest trees are adapted to their soils (2) 3. Describe and explain three adaptations plants might have to help them survive in the rainforest (6)

15 Devil s Ivy Epipremnum pinnatum Aureum Epiphyte Climbs up the trunks of other trees by attaching itself to them with aerial roots in order to reach light in the canopy Leaf Angling Leaves arranged at different angles to avoid shading its own leaves in order to capture as much sunlight as possible Waxy Drip-Tip Leaves These enable excess rainwater to run-off, preventing the growth of algae which would reduce light to the plant and therefore its ability to photosynthesise if allowed to grow Leaf Size Leaves become larger as the plant rises to make the most of increased sunlight

16 Xanthosoma violacea Waxy drip-tip leaves Allow excess rainwater to run-off Leaf Angling Leaves arranged at different angles to avoid shading its own leaves in order to capture as much sunlight as possible

17 Vanilla Orchid Vanilla planifolia varietgata Climber Climbs into the canopy to find more sunlight Thick Waxy Leaves Allow excess rainwater to run-off whilst retaining water needed within the leaves Important since relies on aerial roots

18 Swiss Cheese Plant Monstera deliciosa Holes in Leaves Enable to run-off more quickly Holes in Leaves Allow more sunlight to reach the leaves below Holes in Leaves Stop the leaves being ripped by high winds in the upper canopy

19 Anthurium hybrids Waxy drip-tip leaves Allow excess rainwater to run-off Colourful flowers Attract insects down to the forest floor to enable pollination

20 Alocasia x amazonica Waxy drip-tip leaves allow excess rainwater to run-off Jagged Leaf Shape and Veins allow excess rainwater to run-off Leaf Angling Leaves arranged at different angles to avoid shading its own leaves in order to capture as much sunlight as possible

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