Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When Lava Flows And Glaciers Recede, Predicting How Species Take Over

Date:
May 24, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
When fire, clearcutting, lava or receding glaciers create empty habitat, species arrive to form a new ecological community. Adverse conditions -- such as isolation of the new community or an unfavorable climate -- may hinder the arrival of new species and change the pattern of succession. This article provides a framework to understand why communities mature at different rates, which is fundamental to managing clear cuts or fire.

Whenever an event such as a fire, clear cut, or lava flow creates an empty habitat, species arrive, interact, and assemble to form a new ecological community--a process known as "succession." How quickly does succession proceed" Most ecologists might expect change to be rapid at first and then decline as the community ages, but there was no systematic analysis of this idea until recently.

In a study published in the June issue of the American Naturalist, ecologist Kristina Anderson of the University of New Mexico showed that in many communities--ranging from plants in abandoned agricultural fields to arthropods on carcasses--species do indeed turn over most rapidly early in succession, when many new species arrive to take advantage of available resources. However, she also found that certain adverse conditions--such as isolation of the new community or an unfavorable climate--may hinder the arrival of new species, thereby slowing the rate at which the community fills with species and sometimes causing peak rates of change to occur later in succession.

Anderson's study provides a framework to understand why communities mature at different rates. According to the author, "Understanding how quickly new ecological communities develop is fundamental to numerous ecological questions ranging from, 'How often should fires or clear cuts be allowed on landscapes?" to 'What determines how many species are found on an island?" yet we were unable to make many generalizations about succession rate. That is what motivated this study."

In her study, Anderson first developed a method for quantifying rates of community change and how these vary as the community ages. She then collected data on over 60 different communities--a novel approach in succession research--and documented the changes in species composition throughout succession. Using these results, she was able to relate temporal patterns in rates of community change to processes that limit colonization and persistence of species: competition, harsh environmental conditions, and difficulty getting to the site. The author states, "We still have many unanswered questions regarding rates of succession. My hope is that this study will inspire and inform future research on succession rate."

Article: Kristina J. Anderson (University of New Mexico), "Temporal patterns in rates of community change during succession" American Naturalist (2007), 169:780--793, DOI: 10.1086/516653.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "When Lava Flows And Glaciers Recede, Predicting How Species Take Over." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070523103839.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, May 24). When Lava Flows And Glaciers Recede, Predicting How Species Take Over. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070523103839.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "When Lava Flows And Glaciers Recede, Predicting How Species Take Over." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070523103839.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins