Sequoia Supported Plankton In The Forest

True or false: not all rainforests are found near the equator?  True!  The Pacific northwest is home to some of the largest species of trees on Earth, the redwoods.  Richard Preston gave a consuming speech on Sequoia for TED recently and pointed out a few tantalizing details about these giants not the least of which is that as large as they are – easily 30 feet across at the base – they start out life as a tiny seed roughly 1/6th the size of an American dime.

Preston is the kind of science writer I hope one day to become.  Maybe in the future you’ll hear me expounding the wonders of Apistogramma species evolution at TED after an expedition into Amazon floodplains to track them down.  Much like the tributaries of the Amazon, redwoods seem to support their own localized populations inside their individual canopies within the greater forest.  Can you imagine a copepod – as in plankton – living in the canopy soil of a redwood hundreds of feet up in the air?  I can’t, not really, but Preston sheds light on this fantastical truth as well as others.

Advertisements