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Succession is concerned with community development over time. Find out more in our general section on succession.

Salt Marsh Succession

Colonisation on the Salt Marsh

This refers to the early development of communities on the site. As we stated in the migration section, the starting conditions tend to be unfavourable so it's likely that only a small number of species will be able to survive at this stage.

The first species that grow in any successional sequence are known as PIONEER species. They have to be able to cope with generally unfavourable circumstances (e.g. no soil). Examples of pioneers of salt marshes are Spartina spp and Salicornia spp. You can find out about these species by returning to the salt marsh succession section and clicking the appropriate links.

At this stage of community development it's likely that there will be large gaps between the plants (and animals) on the site and the vegetation as a whole is sometimes called "open" vegetation. Meaning that there is a lot of bare ground still available for colonisation.

The fact that some species are able to survive will have consequences for the physical environment of the site. For instance, a smattering of lichen growing attached to some bare rock will provide shelter for some other plant or animal to shelter behind or under. It will trap dust and grit and hold water more effectively than the bare rock did. The physical conditions of the site have changed as a result of community development and maybe a bit of moss or similar might now find it possible to grow on the site.

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