Ecological Succession Flipbook
By Trystan Hinch Science 10 November 25, 2013
A glacier has retreated revealing bare rock to the air, no plants or animals are present.
Almost immediately after bare rock is revealed, the spores of pioneer species such as lichens and mosses began to grow on the surface of the bare rock. These species must use photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation to create necessary nutrients to sustain themselves. These pioneer species break down the bare rock into soil, and over time die and add nutrients to the soil, allowing new forms of plant life to grow, this stage may take decades.
After the soil becomes deep enough, early colonizers such as small bushes and grasses began to grow. Insects move in, as well as birds (finches, crows) and small rodents (rats, mice, rabbits). As plants and animals die more nutrients are added to the soil (which also is getting deeper). Some birds of prey (coopers hawk, rough-legged hawk, and bald eagles) may fly over this area looking to eat the small birds and rodents. But the birds of prey do not nest in this young ecosystem yet.
As soil gets deeper and deeper and holds more nutrients and water, seeds from sun-tolerant trees such as alder trees and spruce trees began to grow. This allows more animals to inhabit the area. Squirrels and chipmunks start to appear, along with deer, and coyotes. This ecosystem is now starting to look like a younger forest abundant with birds. There are many niches, and trophic levels become clearer. Underneath the bushes and trees earth worms are recycling nutrients and the soil is becoming very rich and healthy.
Coniferous trees germinate and shade out the smaller alders and spruce trees. Niches are in abundance, soil is very rich in nutrients, and species diversity is at a climax. Deer, Elk, and Moose (primary consumers) inhabit the area. Wolfs and coyotes, along with cougars and bears (apex predators) also move in following their prey and moving away from competition. Hawks and eagles (apex predators) nest, along with birds (primary and secondary consumers) from other niches. Skunks, raccoons, jack rabbits (primary consumers) also are in abundance. The ecosystem is now a climax community.
The once flourishing ecosystem was whipped by a forest fire sparked by a lightning strike. All plants and animals are burned into ashes. Nothing remains from the ecosystem except for the soil. After the fire has nothing to burn it goes out, leaving nitrogen rich soil ready for new plants and animals to grow!
After the fire burns out, the surviving seeds from trees and plants began to grow in the nitrogen rich soil. Once the trees grow back animals from neighbouring ecosystems that were not burned down move in. Soon the species diversity is again at a climax and many niches are being filled in. Lots of trophic levels are present and nutrient recycling is at a peak. The process of secondary succession is much quicker than primary succession due to the soil being available at the start. A mature community develops and all is back to normal.
Sources Birds of North America http://www.birds-of-north-america.net/hawks.html
Primary Succession http://faculty.weber.edu/jcavitt/Ecology/Lectures/CommunitySuccession.pdf
Siput Kuning Journal http://siputkuning.blogspot.ca/
Ecological Succession http://intothegardenstrawberries.weebly.com/ecological-succession.html
Published on Nov 28, 2013