Development of Structure in Marine Communities: Colonization and Succession
Any newly available patch of habitat—a newly upwelled parcel of water, or a recently cleared surface—is subject to colonization by organisms. There is nearly always a supply of propagules from an array of species, ready to colonize the unoccupied environment. Colonizers continually threaten to invade any habitat. The composition of the assemblage of species present in any one environment is a composite of invasive opportunity and ability vs. propensity of the species already present to prevent or further invasion. Almost invariably, there is some replacement of species over the course of time, which has been called succession. Because the species that may have propagules available to colonize at any one time may vary, and because of meteorological or hydrological events, the resulting array of “settled” species, and the timing of replacements, all have an element of uncertainty.
KeywordsCoral Reef Salt Marsh Rocky Shore Early Succession Soft Sediment
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