The Ornaments of LifeCoevolution and Conservation in the Tropics

The Ornaments of LifeCoevolution and Conservation in the Tropics

Theodore H. Fleming and W. John Kress

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9780226253404

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

The average kilometer of tropical rainforest is teeming with life; it contains thousands of species of plants and animals. As this book reveals, many of the most colorful and eye-catching rainforest inhabitants—toucans, monkeys, leaf-nosed bats, and hummingbirds to name a few—are an important component of the infrastructure that supports life in the forest. These fruit-and-nectar eating birds and mammals pollinate the flowers and disperse the seeds of hundreds of tropical plants, and unlike temperate communities, much of this greenery relies exclusively on animals for reproduction. Synthesizing recent research by ecologists and evolutionary biologists, this book demonstrates the tremendous functional and evolutionary importance of these tropical pollinators and frugivores. It sheds light on how these mutually symbiotic relationships evolved and lay out the current conservation status of these essential species.