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Colonizing and Populating Habitats

Introduction

Natural disasters, such as floods, fires and volcanic eruptions, create new habitats for living organisms to colonize. Over a much longer period of time, the formation of mountains and events such as the melting of ice after ice ages also create new habitats. To begin with these new habitats are sterile, no life can be found in them. Very soon plants and animals will appear.

Where does this community of living organisms come from?

How do they arrive at the new habitat?

Review the pages on
seed dispersal I
seed dispersal II
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Seeds and Spores

Plants cannot easily move themselves from place to place. Plants' bodies are not adapted for locomotion. The roots of plants dig into the soil to absorb water and minerals and their branches and leaves spread out to catch the sunlight . For plants to arrive at a new habitat they need some method of dispersal.

The seed-producing plants are called Spermatophytes and they only represent one division of the plant kingdom. The Spermatophytes include the flowering plants, and the conifers, such as pines, larches and spruce.

The plant kingdom is made up of other divisions which do not produce seeds. How do they disperse themselves?

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