Given That Climate Change Is Rapidly Altering Many Species’ Habitats, Forcing Some to Die or Migrate, Explain How This Could Dramatically Affect Food Webs via “Succession of Species”
Ecological succession is the gradual process by which ecosystems change and develop over time. Nothing remains the same and habitats are constantly changing. There are two main types of succession, primary and secondary. Primary succession is the series of community changes which occur on an entirely new habitat which has never been colonized before. For example, a newly quarried rock face or sand dunes. Secondary succession is the series of community changes which take place on a previously colonized, but disturbed or damaged habitat. For example, after felling trees in a woodland, land clearance or a fire.
The earth climates nowadays is changing very rapidly and differently. Besides that, the climate changes in our earth are affecting our lives psychologically, physically and emotionally. What is climate change? Climate change is the seasonal changes for a long period of time in the world. These climate patterns play an important role in shaping natural ecosystems, and the human economies and cultures that depend on them. For example, the changes in climate can affect how people, plants and animal live, such as food production and health risks. As the earth’s climate is dynamic and always changing through a natural cycle, the world is now worried about the changes that occurring today have been speeding up and seriously affecting human’s lives. All across the world, people are taking action to prevent climate change. For example, in 2007, scientists from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that warming oceans and melting glaciers due to global warming and climate change could cause sea levels to rise 7-23 inches by the year 2100. So, some islands and some small countries will be flooded by the sea water and even disappeared very soon. Because of this, we must take action as soon as possible to try to solve this problem or to prevent the more serious of climate changes occur. I’m interested in this topic because the climate changes in our country or this world are too serious and it’s interesting to discuss and try to fix the problem. However, what are the causes and effects of climate changes that affecting our lives and environment? There are two main causes of climate changes – natural causes and human activities. Natural causes have influenced the earth’s climates such as volcanic eruptions, ocean current, the earth’s orbital changes and solar variations.
The early ecologists who first studied succession thought of it as a predictable process in which a community always went through the same series of stages. They also thought that the end result of succession was a stable, unchanging final state called a climax community, largely determined by an area's climate. For instance, in the example above, the mature oak and hickory forest would be the climax community. Today, the idea of a set path for succession and a stable climax community have been called into question. Rather than taking a predetermined path, it appears that succession can follow different routes depending on the specifics of the situation. Also, although stable climax communities can form in some cases, this may be uncommon in many environments. Ecosystems may experience frequent disturbances that prevent a community from reaching an equilibrium state—or knock it quickly out of this state if it manages to get there (Marietta College Department, 2013). Over many years, due at least in part to changes in the environment caused by the growth of grasses and other species, shrubs will emerge, followed by small pine, oak, and hickory trees. Eventually, barring further disturbances, the oak and hickory trees will become dominant and form a dense canopy, returning the community to its original state—its pre-fire composition. This process of succession takes about 150 years (Miller, G. Tyler, 2009).
For the most part, adaptation can protect animals from predators or from harsh weather. Many birds can hide in the tall grass and weeds and insects can change their colour to blend into the surroundings. This makes it difficult for predators to seek them out for food. Some animals, like the apple snail, can survive in different ecosystems- from swamps, ditches and ponds to lakes and rivers. It has a lung/gills combination that reflects its adaptation to habitats with oxygen poor water. This is often the case in swamps and shallow waters.
"Ecological Succession." Wikipedia. Last modified May 31, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_succession.
Marietta College Department of Biology and Environmental Science. "Succession." Biomes of the World. Last modified October 14, 2013. http://w3.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/succession.htm.
Miller, G. Tyler and Scott E. Spoolman. "How Do Communities and Ecosystems Respond to Changing Environmental Conditions?" in Essentials of Ecology, 115-119. 5th ed. Belmont: Cengage Learning, 2009.