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Succession Essay

968 words - 4 pages

Introduction Succession is the process of a community developing over time, which involves species I one stage being replaced by a different species. It could take tens, hundreds, or even thousands of years in ecological succession. There are two different types of succession that are going to be discussed in this paper. The first succession is primary succession and the second is secondary succession. The major difference between the two types of succession is that primary succession originally begins with no soil, where as with secondary succession it does have soil on it when the process begins.Primary Succession Over time an environment changes. If a species composition changes over time in an environment that has not been inhabited by organisms it is called primary succession. Primary succession can take over hundreds or even thousands of years to develop. When primary succession begins there is absolutely no soil .It is hard to imagine anything growing without soil, but during primary succession it does actually does happen. If you can imagine a place where a volcano has irrupted and lava has flown out and covered an area of land with it?s hot lava causing it to burn everything in it?s path to nothing. After the lava cools it is formed into a hard rock ground cover with no soil or vegetation on it.In the pioneer community, lichens are an important element on bare rock, which begins the process of primary succession. In order to break apart the rock lichens secrete an acid which begins the process of soil formation. Lichens are possibly then replaced by mosses or even ferns.After the ferns and mosses die and grow and there is enough soil on the ground they may then be replaced by some grasses. Some shrubs may replace some of the grasses, and eventually would be replaced by trees. It is likely that there will not be many animals that inhabit that area due to the fact that there is not a lot of grasses and vegetation for them to eat on.In Glacier Bay, Alaska over the past 200 years glaciers have slowly melted away leaving barren landscape for primary succession to begin. Photos A, B, and C (Berg & Raven, 2004) are taken on the side of a glacial moraine. In photos A the glacier has retreated and left the land stripped of any vegetation. The barren landscape has rocks, gravel, and sand left by the glacier. This is then colonized by the lichens that will break down the rock with the acid it secretes, and will soon be followed by mosses and shrubs. Photo B shows some small shrubs and very small trees that have began to grow in the area. It is hard to tell by the picture, but it is very possible that there are even some grasses growing among the trees and shrubs. Trees have dominated the area where the land was once barren with just rocks, gravel, and sand in photo C.Secondary Succession Change in species...

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