Published on January 29, 2014
Succession Succession is the gradual change in a community over time. During succession the organisms within an ecosystem change its abiotic conditions. This allows better adapted organisms to colonize the area, replacing its current inhabitants. Primary succession occurs when organisms colonize a lifeless habitat. Secondary succession occurs when organisms recolonize a devastated ecosystem.
A series of predictable changes that occur in a community over time due to events in the environment. The changes may happen suddenly or very slowly.
The series of changes that occur in an area where no ecosystem previously existed. Eventually, primary succession will lead to equilibrium.
Primary Succession – the series of changes that occur in an area where no ecosystem previously existed.
An area of rock uncovered by a melting ice sheet A new island formed by the eruption of an undersea volcano Human made ponds
The first species to populate an area are the pioneer species. They break up rock and begin soil formation
Primary Succession •Soil starts to form as lichens and the forces of weather and erosion help break down rocks into smaller pieces •When lichens die, they decompose, adding small amounts of organic matter to the rock to make soil
A combination of fungus and algae
Mosses break down rock and add more soil
Grasses and small plants – protect the soil and add more nutrients
•The simple plants die, adding more organic material •The soil layer thickens, and grasses, wildflowers, and other plants begin to take over
•These plants die, and they add more nutrients to the soil •Shrubs and trees can survive now http://www.rowan.edu
•Insects, small birds, and mammals have begun to move in •What was once bare rock now supports a variety of life http://www.rowan.edu
Larger plants with deep roots continue to break up rock and make more soil. A diverse forest ecosystem takes hundreds of years
1. Ground is solid rock 2. Rock begins to weather, pioneer species begin 3. Weeds and grasses grow in soil making thicker, richer soil 4. Eventually trees and shrubs sprout community of organisms develops 5. Ecosystem reaches equilibrium
Reaching a stable community can take centuries.
Secondary Succession The series of changes that occur after a disturbance in an existing ecosystem. It can occur more rapidly than primary succession.
Secondary Succession Begins in a place that already has soil and was once the home of living organisms Occurs faster and has different pioneer species than primary succession
Natural disturbances: Fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes Human disturbances: A pasture abandoned by a farmer Logging, or mining
Secondary Succession – The series of changes that occur after a disturbance in an existing ecosystem.
1. Varies depending on the type of 2. 3. 4. 5. disturbance A disturbed area returns to its previous condition, eventually reaches equilibrium Soil and seeds are already present Organisms move in There is a quick recovery of the ecosystem
Climax Community •A stable group of plants and animals that is the end result of the succession process •Does not always mean big trees – Grasses in prairies – Cacti in deserts • Equilibrium restored • State of balance • No sudden changes in community
Secondary succession usually requires less time to form a climax community, since soil is already in place.
What happens to the ecosyste m Length of Time Example Primary Creates a new ecosystem Secondary Restores a previous ecosystem May take a long time to reach equilibrium A shorter time to reach equilibrium New land created by An area volcanic eruption destroyed by fire
How do primary and secondary succession help maintain equilibrium in an ecosystem? Answer: By fostering stability, over time, in the number and species of organisms in a community.
What is a pioneer species? Answer: The first species to populate an area.
Identify two natural disturbances and two human disturbances that can result in secondary succession. Answer: Natural Disturbances: fire, hurricanes, volcanoes, tornadoes. Human Disturbances: farming, logging, mining.
Grass poking through the cracks in the sidewalk is an example of succession. Is this primary or secondary succession? Answer: Secondary Succession; before the sidewalk was built, an ecosystem existed there.
Primary Succession occurs where no previous ecosystem exists and establishes equilibrium. Secondary succession occurs after a disturbance restores equilibrium.
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