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COLONISATION & SUCCESSION

COLONISATION
 takes place in newly formed areas
 Example: an environment of sand and
stones
 The first colonisers are called pioneer
species.
PIONEER SPECIES
 Have special adaptations
 Can survive on dry and nutrient poor soil
 Usually are hardy plants which have dense root
systems to bind sand particles, water and humus
 Short life cycle
 When they die, their remains add to the humus content
of the soil
 Pioneer species establish conditions that are more
conducive to other species that is called successor
species.
SUCCESSOR SPECIES
 Grow bigger than the pioneer species
 Most of these plants have small wind-
dispersable seeds (enable them to spread and
grow rapidly
 The successor species also change the
structure and quality of soil, making it more
conducive for larger plants to grow
 The plants that grow over the remaining of
successor species are called dominant
species.
DOMINANT SPECIES
 Can grow faster and can out-compete the
pioneers which grow at a slower rate
 As time passes, the dominant species modify
the environment which allows larger trees to
grow
 Gradual process through which one community
changes its environment so that it is replaced
by another community is called succession.
CLIMAX COMMUNITY
 Ecological succession leads to a relative
stable community which is equilibrium
with its environment.
 The stable community is called a climax
community.
 A climax community is a stable
community that undergoes little or no
change in its species composition.
 Example of pioneer species: lalang,
grass
 Successor species: Herbaceous
 Dominant species: Shrubs
 Climax community: Rainforest
COLONISATION & SUCCESSION IN
MANGROVE SWAMPS
 Pioneer species: Avicennia sp and
Sonneratia sp
 Characteristics: long underground cable
roots that support them in soft and
muddy soil
 The roots also produce hundreds of thin,
vertical breathing roots called
pneumatophores
Pneumatophores
COLONISATION & SUCCESSION IN
MANGROVE SWAMPS
 Successor species: Rhizophora sp.
 Has prop roots
 These aerial roots anchor plants to the
mud and play important role in aeration
 Aeration can also take place through
lenticels on the tree bark.
Prop Roots
COLONISATION & SUCCESSION IN
MANGROVE SWAMPS
 Dominant species: Bruguiera sp.
 Has buttress root forms loop that
protrude from soil to trap more silt and
mud.
 This modifies the soil structure gradually.
 Over time, terrestrial plants such as Nypa
sp., Pandanus sp., begin to replace the
Bruguiera sp.