Ecological succession can be defined as ‘the orderly process of change over time in a community’ or ‘the sequence of appearance and disappearance of species in an ecosystem after a disturbance or following the creation of a new habitat’. It is a pattern of colonization and extinction.

At Pearson College a similar change occurs every year when a new cohort of students arrives in the fall.  The first week of classes is now over and this afternoon, first year Marine Science students set up a succession experiment that will be ongoing throughout their two year tenure at the College.

Each student in B block chose a substrate (from the Recycling Shed) to suspend from the Pearson College dock at about 0.5 m depth.  The substrates included: a small concrete block, a glass jar, a plastic plant pot, a piece of wood, a large tin can, a plastic bleach bottle and an old tire.

A mesh-wrapped bottle.

A coat hanger with plastic mesh attached.

Lily’s glass bottle (no mesh!).

The old tire came from a beach clean-up that Marine Science students did three years ago.

Today the substrates are uncolonized – students will track the process of ecological succession by pulling up their substrate every two months or so.  We’ll keep you posted…

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