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Constant Changes in an Ecosystem. Succession. The series of predictable changes that occurs in a community over time. Ecological Succession. Ecosystems are constantly changing in response to natural and human disturbances.

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Presentation Transcript
ecological succession1

Ecosystems are constantly changing in response to natural and human disturbances.

As an ecosystem changes, older inhabitants gradually die out and new organisms move in, causing further changes in the community

Ecological Succession
causes of succession

Succession occurs in stages

Slow changes in the physical environment

Sudden natural disturbances from human activities such as clearing a forest

Causes of Succession
primary succession

Succession that occurs on surfaces where no soil exists (an essentially lifeless area)

  • Occurs on:
    • newly cooled lava
    • bare rock exposed by retreating glaciers
    • An abandoned highway or parking lot
Primary Succession
primary succession1

Usually takes a long time because there is no fertile soil to provide the nutrients needed to establish a plant community.

Primary Succession
primary succession the slow process of soil formation

Begins when pioneer or early successional species arrive

Common pioneer species are lichens and mosses

The seeds and spores of lichens and mosses are carried by the wind or on the coats of animals or in the droppings of animals

Primary succession – the slow process of soil formation
how do pioneer species start soil formation

Attach to the bare rock or other bare surface.

Trap wind-blown soil particles and detritus, producing tiny bits of organic matter

Secrete mild acids that slowly break down the rock

After hundreds to thousands of years, the soil may be deep enough and fertile enough to store moisture and nutrients to support larger plant growth

How do Pioneer Species start soil formation?
midsuccessional plant species



Low shrubs

Trees that need lots of sunlight and are adapted to the climate and soil

(Trees will eventually replace the low growing plants)

Midsuccessional Plant Species
late successional plants

Trees that can tolerate shade

    • Oaks
    • Maples
    • Dogwoods
    • Hickory
    • Poplar
    • Birch
    • Beech
Late Successional Plants
primary succession2
Primary Succession

secondary succession

When a disturbance of some kind changes an existing community without removing the soil

Land cleared and plowed for farming is abandoned.

Burned or cut forests

Flooded land

Secondary Succession