Avatar Movie Review

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The specialization of exceptional species to specific ecosystem is a key mechanism that supports the survival and maintenance of unique organisms in the tropical rainforests. In the case of single species or groups of organisms, the differentiation mechanism of niches is very evident, and many studies associate tropical woodland flora and fauna to environmental conditions including water content material soil chemistry, elevation, temperature, humidity exposure and light regimes. Whitmore acknowledges in his work that the tropical rainforest consist of different species that co-exist in their area of interest which has been facilitated by various modes of survival. These include specialization in time and space, meals preferences, and controlled carrying capacity. This phenomenon is evident in the movie, the Avatar, in which the interconnectedness of species in the tropical rainforest, Australia, is revealed.

One of the models of survival in tropical rainforests is specialization in time and space. According to Whitmore, the ecosystem operates efficiently since some of the fauna are active during the day while others during the night since they share the same canopy (68). In the case of the Borneo rainforest, the mammals and birds, squirrels, and invertebrates have all developed specific niches in particular space and time. In Bukit Timah forest in Singapore, the existing cryptozoans move either in the morning or evening from the soil to feed on the canopy and get back to the foot of the trees where they are awaited by other species like scorpion, spider, and frog. During the day, the species are replaced by other organisms like the flying lizard and insects. In the case of space occupation, some animal species occupy the forest floor while others would take the position of understory, the canopy level, and above the canopy.

The aspect of space and time specialization has been explored in the film, Avatar. The species found in Pandora (moon supporting life) has variety of flora and fauna. One of the creatures, direhorse, is a gray-sinned animal that resembles a horse and is hexapodal. They exist during the day, and are used by the Na’vi for hunting due to their bioluminescent nature. Another animal existing during the day is the mountain banshee which is also used to hunt from the air. The space occupation has also enabled coexistence. Below the canopy, various deadly animals roam around including the packs of viperwolves that are dangerous to humans and the natives. Jack Sally is attacked by the viperwolves when he goes to the jungle during the night; this resulted from the fact that the humans tried to invade the space and time of the species. There are also the hammerhead titanotheres and the thanator considered to be the most terrifying creatures in Pandora; since the fauna exist in different spaces, their co-existence is assured.

Competition among the tropical rainforest species is minimized through food preference. The animal inhabitants have evolved to share the existing food resources in the forests. According to Whitmore, the neotropical bats are the most complex assemblages with over 50 species co-existing in the tropical rainforest. In the Barro Colorado Island in Panama, there are 9 different food guilds with specific species specialized as feeders. In each guild there are different sizes of food particles which relates to the body weight of the organisms. To further illustrate this, Whitmore refers to the 5 nocturnal species of lorises in Central Africa including potto bush-babies, and angwantibo which are able to minimize competition by partitioning both space and food. In the canopy, the bush-babies feed on fruits while the potto feed on plant gums. The other lorises species feed on the undergrowth as well as insects.

The feeding system in Pandora has also promoted co-existence among the different species. The Natives, Na’vi, for instance, are hunters and gatherers who practice simple form of agriculture. They bring together plants and treat them using pheromones and natural agents for healthier growth for feeding. They also feed on animals which they hunt during the day including slinger, stingbat, Teylu and Glow Worms. The Viperwolves and the thanator are nocturnal carnivorous hunters within a territory of about 480 kilometers within the Pandora. With their strong jaws that can crush bones or stones, they are able to exert pressure on their prey. Additionally, the direhorse possess think antennae emerging from both sides of the skull which are used to feed on the nectar of flowers as well as on tree barks and shrubs. As such, the variable food preferences ensure that competition among the species in the tropical rainforest is controlled.

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