Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2011


Succession is perhaps the oldest of ecological concepts, having arisen when ecology was emerging as a self-conscious discipline (Mcintosh 1985). Yet it continues to address many fundamental issues in ecology, to support important applications, and to synthesize the insights and perspectives of other theories. Thus, it fulfills two functions key in assessing the utility of a contemporary ecological theory. First, it exhibits the attributes of a mature, welldeveloped, and intensively tested theory (Glenn-Lewin et al. 1992; Pickett and Cadenasso 2005). Second, it provides a linkage among theories and applications that have usually been considered separately (Walker et al. 2007). For example, the theory of succession or community dynamics has been applied to terrestrial and aquatic habitats (Bazzaz 1979; Stevenson et al. 1991; Biox et al. 2004), and for communities of microbes (Boucher et al. 2005), birds (Keller et al. 2003), soil invertebrates (Yi et al. 2006), and mammals (Schweiger et al. 2000).