Essays

The Proteas were among the first flowering plants to emerge in the Jurassic, on the southern continent of Gondwanaland. They are among the “Gondwana flora“, and they have been dispersed east-west across all of the southern continents of the world, but not at all north-south – they remain an austral family.

Once the Chickarees Deliver an acorn to a suitable site, the oak seed will wait until conditions are best for germination.  A series of switches sensed by the oak synchronize the events in the history of each tree with the environmental conditions in the tree’s environment.

During the Mesozoic Era, one lineage of early mammals took off into the air. These Tree Mice have continued their flight, all the way into the present, accompanied by the feathered descendents of the dinosaurs. They left their web-footed amphibian forbears behind below the treetops.

All the minerals from the Earth’s surface are sampled in the tiny motes of dust suspended in the atmosphere. The epiphytic Lacy Lichens of temperate woodlands survive well enough on that air-borne resource to have no need for roots on the ground.

The biosphere interacts with the atmosphere, where certain organisms have evolved the capacity of Calling down the Rain, where it advances their success.

Predatory birds forage at the margins of disturbances, such as fire or flood. Another such disturbance is a flood of army ants.  This wave sustains a special guild of Disaster Raptors, as well as a group of specialized butterflies.

The epiphytes in the branches of the New World tropical trees shelter more creatures than the bushes below at ground level.  These Hanging Gardens are emplaced in part by the soil-building work of a pair of ant species that work together to maintain the plantings.

The Sunfish are the largest ray-finned fish in the sea. They specialize in predation on jellyfish, and depend upon a range of other sea creatures in dealing with the invertebrate parasites that prey upon them.

Undertakers. Young, helpless hatchling birds are fed and defended in their nest by protective parents. Their plight is repeated under ground with the story of hatchling burying beetles and the adults upon whom they depend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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