Indiana Dunes is an Example of Ecological Succession
Indiana dunes is an example of ecological succession. More specifically primary succession where life starts out with nothing. First pioneer species improve the soil conditions allwing more plant species to thrive. As more soil gets created as plant matter decays, the soil quality allow more common plant speices located inland to thrive near the beaches. The species nearest to the beach have higher tolerance curves. This means that these species can tolerate harsh abiotic factors like the lack of mositure and nutrients and full exposure to the sun and ground instability. Harsh abiotic factors creates inhibition that only allows high tolerant species to thrive near the beach and discourages other plant species to thrive. Pioneer plants like marram grass are able to survive in harsh environments, unsutiable for other types of vulnerable life and make it less harsh for other species to flourish. They form patches of grass that trap the moving sand and spread quickly.
Over time, more sand gets pushed inland due to weathering and asmoisture level rises and vegetation slowly covers continuously, the conditions become more suitable for more biodiversity on beaches. So as the tree popluation rises, more birds pass through Sand dunes and it helps biodiversity thrive through ecological facilitation. For example hairy woodpecker helps keep the bug population in check by ellminating bugs from trees so the tree wont be harmed. This species interaction benefits both participants, the tree and bird populations. Like cottonwood trees that thrive in unstable sand. With their branches and leaves, its shade and moisture allows more biodiversity to thrive and allows a settling groudn for other species. After the prsence of cottonwood trees on beaches, more trees will thrive like Jack Pines and oaks. These trees are located away from teh coast and rather further inaldn and will slowly build the soil. From nothingness to thriving biodiversity, ecological succession is established when these common trees allows more moisture, less acidic soil and therefore more plants and animal life on beaches.
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