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Tropics

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Circular in form, the white ground with brown transfer-printed decoration, the top section showing birds (cranes?) in flight in a landscape, the lower section composed of differently shaped panels of Japanese-inspired motifs including flowers, birds and geometric patterns. Gilt rim.

Bound for the Tropics

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Why Are Vines Overtaking the American Tropics?

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
S. Joseph Wright, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, describes research showing that lianas, woody vines, are on the rise in the tropical forests of the Americas.

The Andes: You call this the tropics?

National Museum of Natural History
Vicki Funk and her team uses botanical clades to predict how climate change will affect the High Elevation Andean Ecosystems in the future.

Study for "Rainy Season in the Tropics"

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Recto: Horizonal view showing a dramatic panorama of towering peaks flanking a river gorge, with a church ( or castle) perched atop a cliff at the left and a cluster of palm trees at the right, bridged by a prominent double rainbow.

Verso: Elevations and plans for a Mansard-roofed house are shown in boxes and sometimes numbered: shown vertically at bottom is the house standing at a declivity and composed of two wings; shown horizontally in the opposite direction is the front portion of the house with a different distribution of windows; shown at various locations are several designs referring to the shape of the roof and a house plan; and shown at bottom right are two fillets supported by scroll motifs.

Reptiles may be spreading deadly amphibian disease in the tropics

Smithsonian Insider

Reptiles that live near and feed upon amphibians in the tropics may be spreading the deadly amphibian disease Chytridiomycosis (caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dedrobatidis), holding and transporting reservoirs of the fungus on their skin.

The post Reptiles may be spreading deadly amphibian disease in the tropics appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

Tropical Flowers

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Tropical Flowers

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Stronger predation in the tropics shapes species richness patterns in marine communities

Smithsonian Libraries
Species interactions are widely assumed to be stronger at lower latitudes, but surprisingly few experimental studies test this hypothesis, and none ties these processes to observed patterns of species richness across latitude. We report here the first experimental field test that predation is both stronger and has a disproportionate effect on species richness in the tropics relative to the temperate zone. We conducted predator-exclusion experiments on communities of sessile marine invertebrates in four regions, which span 32 degrees latitude, in the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Over a three-month timescale, predation had no effect on species richness in the temperate zone. In the tropics, however, communities were from two to over ten times more species-rich in the absence of predators than when predators were present. While micro-and macro-predators likely compete for the limited prey resource in the tropics, micropredators alone were able to exert as much pressure on the invertebrate communities as the full predator community. This result highlights the extent to which exposure to even a subset of the predator guild can significantly impact species richness in the tropics. Patterns were consistent in analyses that included relative and total species abundances. Higher species richness in the absence of predators in the tropics was also observed when species occurrences were pooled across two larger spatial scales, site and region, demonstrating a consistent scaling relationship. These experimental results show that predation can both limit local species abundances and shape patterns of regional coexistence in the tropics. When preestablished diverse tropical communities were then exposed to predation for different durations, ranging from one to several days, species richness was always reduced. These findings confirmed that impacts of predation in the tropics are strong and consistent, even in more established communities. Our results offer empirical support for the long-held prediction that predation pressure is stronger at lower latitudes. Furthermore, we demonstrate the magnitude to which variation in predation pressure can contribute to the maintenance of tropical species diversity.

Tropical seasonal forest

Smithsonian Libraries

Tropical Forest Ecology

Smithsonian Libraries

Understanding Tropical Forests

Smithsonian Libraries

Scientists race to determine why vines are taking over forests in the American tropics

Smithsonian Insider

By pulling together data from eight different studies, we now have irrefutable evidence that vines are on the rise not only in the Amazon, but throughout the American tropics.

The post Scientists race to determine why vines are taking over forests in the American tropics appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

Tropical foliage

Archives of American Art
1 slide : col. ; 5 x 5 cm.

handwritten on slide casing: Palm Gard. Fla.

Hat, Tropical

National Museum of American History

Tropical Linen

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Flowers and fruit of tropical plants with large leaves; printed in shades of blue, red, green, and tan on natural linen.
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