Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Portland Blrm 254, Oregon Convention Center
Cynthia Chang, University of Washington-Bothell
Benjamin L. Turner, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; and
John Bishop, Washington State University, Vancouver
Benjamin L. Turner, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Ecological succession – how biological communities re-assemble following natural or anthropogenic disturbance – has been studied since the birth of ecology and the resulting theoretical framework underpins many aspects of the discipline. Recent studies in succession have advanced our conceptual understanding of succession by using long-term datasets, natural disturbance gradients, and analytical techniques of modern community ecology. However, the findings span a number of topics, including ecosystem function, community diversity and structure, species interactions, and ecological responses to disturbance and rapid environmental change. This session will synthesize these recent conceptual advances by combining studies on long-term succession in plant, mycorrhizal, and microbial communities in a broad range of ecosystems to address both basic and applied ecological questions of how diversity patterns change through time, with potential implications for understanding the response of ecosystems to global change and disturbance. In particular, the session will address the following questions: 1) Are there universal rules governing succession? 2) When do these rules fail to predict ecosystem and community response to disturbance? 3) How can succession research and long-term succession datasets be used to inform ecosystem and community response to rapid global change? By describing overarching patterns in succession across varied ecosystems and study organisms, as well as elucidating the mechanisms that drive community assembly after disturbance, the session will provide a synthetic conceptual framework for understanding succession of ecosystems and communities relevant to rapidly changing global landscapes. Insights gained will be of interest to a broad ecological audience, as general succession concepts and mechanisms can be applied to understanding ecosystem and community change over time.