What is the process of ecological succession?

Ecological succession as an energy dispersal process
October 24, 2015 – 10:47 am

Cover imageEcological succession is described by the 2nd law of thermodynamics. According to the universal law of the maximal energy dispersal, an ecosystem evolves toward a stationary state in its surroundings by consuming free energy via diverse mechanisms. Species are the mechanisms that conduct energy down along gradients between repositories of energy which consist of populations at various thermodynamic levels. The salient characteristics of succession, growing biomass production, increasing species richness and shifting distributions of species are found as consequences of the universal quest to diminish energy density differences in least time. The analysis reveals that during succession the ecosystem's energy transduction network, i.e., the food web organizes increasingly more effective in the free energy reduction by acquiring new, more effective and abandoning old, less effective species of energy transduction. The number of species does not necessarily peak at the climax state that corresponds to the maximum-entropy partition of species maximizing consumption of free energy. According to the theory of evolution by natural selection founded on statistical physics of open systems, ecological succession is one among many other evolutionary processes.


  • Energy transduction;
  • Entropy;
  • Evolution;
  • Free energy;
  • Natural process;
  • Natural selection;
  • Thermodynamics
Source: www.sciencedirect.com
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Popular Q&A
What is the process of ecological succession from a pioneer community to a climax community? ? | Yahoo Answers

Species diversity increases; biomass increases but the rate of increase follows a logistic model (increases, decreases, and finally stops); energy flow through the community slows down (retained longer within the community).

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