Ecosystem Succession

Topics: Ecological succession, Ecosystem, Ecology Pages: 3 (835 words) Published: November 3, 2008
Primary Succession

Primary Succession is an ecological succession process that occurs in an environment with no prior inhabitants. Primary succession is the changes in species composition over time in a previously uninhabited environment. When primary succession begins no soil exist; rock surfaces like volcanic lava and glacier scraped rock surfaces are the platform on which primary succession begins. In figure 4.4 of the text Primary succession is happening on glacier moraine after the glacier has deposited rocks, gravel and sand. Pioneer Community is the initial community that develops during the primary succession process. Lichens are the most important element of the pioneer community. The lichens helps breakdown of the rocks by secreting acid on the rocks to break them apart and thus starts the soil formation process. After sometime, mosses and drought-resistant ferns replaces the lichen community, followed by tough grass and herbs. Plant life like dwarf trees and shrubs will later appear.

The ecological process of primary succession process continues to evolve and thus soil formation begins to occur; after a period the mosses and drought-resistant ferns are replaced by low shrubbery and eventually trees. Primary succession varies from one region to another. In the case of sand dunes, the primary succession process is completely different, the sand dunes the environment is more severe and a high-low temperature occurs. The high temperatures happen during the day, while low temperatures take place at night. However, sand lacks key mineral nutrients needed to facilitate plant growth; so not all plant life can grow in this terrain. The process for primary succession is lichens, moss, grass, shrubs and trees. Secondary Succession

Secondary succession is an ecological succession process that starts in an environment with soil already in existence. Secondary succession is the changes in species composition which occurs after a disturbance that...
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