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Life in Freshwater

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

3rd Stage of Succession - Establishment

The species that have colonised the water will slowly improve the conditions. Diatoms and algae are very transient and short lived. Plants like frogbit or rooted ones like lilies take over the deeper water. They provide shelter for animals and begin to changethe abiotic conditions like reducing the effect of the wind on the surface. Over years they will become well established and could produce a dense covering of lily leaves.

Each year dead organic matter produced by these plants begin to accumulate at the bottom. In time this makes the pond more shallow and reedmace, sedges and rushes start to take root. If the pond was shallow to begin with this wil have been an early coloniser. These grow close together and material, both organic and inorganic becomes trapped between them. This helps to fill the pond in yet further and these plants slowly invade the pond further towards the middle.

Pond with several communities established
Pond with several communities well established. Middle and back right are lilies and frogbit. To the front are sedges and rushes. reedmace is back left.

The number of species present continues to rise steeply during this phase and several communities may become established. The diversity of plant species will encourage a range of animals as well. The pond pictured above has a very high diversity of animals and plants and will soon reach a peak.


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