Describe how ecosystems recover from a disturbance. Compare succession after a natural disturbance with succession after a human-caused disturbance.

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1 1 2 Objectives Describe how ecosystems recover from a disturbance. Compare succession after a natural disturbance with succession after a human-caused disturbance. 3 Succesion Cartoon Guide to the Environment Read excerpt. Answer questions : the observed process of change in the species structure of an ecological community over time some species die out and others move in normally increases the number of different species A result of complex interactions of biotic and abiotic factors Can occur by: slow, natural changes in the environment natural disasters (i.e. forest fires, wind storms, etc.) human activities (agriculture, business development, etc.) An Overview Occurs in 2 stages: Secondary New land or sterilized existing land Begins in a place without any remnants of an older community Sides of volcanoes 1

2 Sides of volcanoes Retreating glaciers Starts with the arrival of living things such as lichens Lichens are pioneer species: first species to colonize a barren land 8 9 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 Simple plants like mosses and ferns can grow in the new soil These plants die, and they add more nutrients to the soil Shrubs and trees can survive now Insects, small birds, and mammals will begin to move in What was once bare rock now supports a variety of life An Overview: Secondary Begins in a place that was not completely destroyed by a disturbance already has soil and was once the home of living organisms Occurs faster and has different pioneer species than primary succession Can occur in a large area (forest fire, hurricane, logging, farming) or smaller areas (fallen tree) 2

3 Can occur in a large area (forest fire, hurricane, logging, farming) or smaller areas (fallen tree) 16 An Overview: Secondary Why? As one species alters its environment, it may be easier for other species to compete for resources and survive doesn t always follow the same path occurs after natural disturbances human-caused disturbances 20 In some communities disturbances are common coral reefs, tropical rainforests storms temperate forests, grasslands wildfires Secondary succession in these communities may just reproduce the same climax community 21 The end result of the succession process Climax community: A stable group of plants and animals Characteristics: Community structure is complex Large number of species interactions Niches are narrow Species diversity is high 3

4 22 23 Species diversity is high Does not always mean big trees Grasses in prairies Cacti in deserts A Provides food, shelter, fuel for the organisms in the community Purifies air and water, and detoxifies wastes Stabilizes climate, moderates floods, droughts, wind, temperature Generates and renews soil fertility and cycles nutrients Pollinates plants and controls pests and disease Provides cultural and aesthetic benefits Allows us to adapt to change Secondary succession in these communities may just reproduce the same climax community This isn t always the case! Sometimes its messy (unstable, varying stages of succession) The climax community isn t predetermined 24 Human-Caused Disturbance Not all ecosystems may recover from human-caused disturbances land clearing, farming depleted soils 25 Patterns of 4

5 Compare different cases and look for similarities and differences Research has shown similarities in primary succession (can be predictable) But chance plays a large role in which species colonize newly cleared land 5

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