Pioneer species| Primary Succession| Ecological Succession
Ecology Basics. In this video, I would like to talk about pioneer species and primary succession.
In 1980 Mount Saint Helens erupted and dust was lifted 15 miles into the atmosphere and drifted over 11 states.
The area around the volcano was destroyed and lifeless.
However, if you looked closely on the exposed rock you would find bacteria, some fungal and possibly pollen.
A new community of life would begin to grow on this exposed rock.
This process of establishing a community on an area like rock without soil is called primary succession.
Before most plants can grow they need soil. How is this soil created?
Many times lichens and moss will begin to grow on the rock.
Because they are the first living things to appear and grow they are called the pioneer species.
A lichen is an interesting individual and is a combination of algae or bacteria that lives among fungi
Lichen can grow on almost any surface and do not need soil to grow.
Moss is a nonvascular plant that can that does not need soil to grow. Therefore it can grow on rocks much like the lichen.
Because lichen are part fungi they release acids that break down rocks.
As the pioneer species they begin to decay and leave behind organic material.
This organic material along with the rock sediment soil slowly begins to appear.
As the soil appears small weedy plants like ferns may begin to grow. As these plants grow other individuals like fungi and insects will appear and as they die more soil is produced.
All of this growth is a result of the first pioneer species which are the first individuals to grow on places like rocks that do not have soil.