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Volcanic succession (火山遷移)

Mount Usu / Sarobetsu post-mined peatland
From left: Crater basin in 1986 and 2006. Cottongrass / Daylily

[ Sakurajima Island , Mount St. Helens , Surtsey , New Zealand ]
[ volcanic succession researhed ]
[ volcanoes , meta-analysis ]

Need revision [ references | meta-analysis ]


Table 2. Records on volcananic succession. (Revised)
Volcano or areaImpact typeYear(s)Authors (year)
Galapagos IslandsLavaHendrix 1981
HawaiiLavaAtkinson 1970; Eggler 1971; Drake & Müller-Dombois 1993; Aplet & Vitousek 1994; Karpa & Vitousek 1995; Kitayama et al. 1995
Kekla, IcelandLavaBjarnason (1991)
Krakatau, IndonesiaLavaTagawa et al. 1985; Whittaker et al. 1989; Tagawa 1992; Partomihardjo et al. 1992
La Reunion, Mascarene IslandsLavaChevennement 1990
Papua New GuineaLavaTaylor 1957
Sakurajima, JapanLavaTagawa 1964, 1965
Mt Tarawera, New ZealandLava, ScoriaClarkson & Clarkson 1983; Timmins 1983
Mt Tolbachik, Russian Far EastLava; TephraGrishin 1992, 1994
Mt Kula, TurkeyLavaOner & Oflas 1977
Vesuvius, ItalyLavaMazzoleni & Ricciardi 1993
Mount St. Helens, USALateral Blast1980Franklin et al. 1985; Halpern et al. 1990
Mt Lassen, USALaharHeath 1967
Mt Ontake, JapanLaharNakashizuka et al. 1993
Mt Rainier, USALaharFrenzen et al. 1988
Mount St. Helens, USALaharHalpern & Harmon 1983; Dale 1989, 1991
Mt Taranaki, New ZealandLaharClarkson 1990
Mt Fuji, JapanPumice, ScoriaOhsawa 1984; Masuzawa 1985; Nakamura 1985
Mount St. Helens, USAPumice, Pyroclastic flows, Lahars1980Wood & del Moral 1987; del Moral 1993; del Moral & Bliss 1993; del Moral et al. 1995
El Chichon, MexicoPyroclastic flows, TephraBurnham 1993
Mt Pelee, MartiniquePyroclastic flow; LaharBeard 1976; Sastre & Fiard 1986
Motmot, Papua New GuineaScoriaBall & Glucksman 1975
Crater Lake, Oregon, USAScoria, LapilliJackson & Faller 1973; Horn 1968
El Paricutin, MexicoScoria, Lapilli, AshEggler 1948, 1963; Rejmanek et al. 1987
Surtsey, IcelandScoriaFridriksson & Magnusson 1992
Mount St. Helens, USAAsh1980Antos & Zobel 1985a, c, 1986; del Moral 1983, 1993; del Moral & Bliss 1993; Zobel & Antos 1986
Aso (?), Kyushu, JapanAshTagawa et al. 1994
Mt Usu, Hokkaido, JapanTephra1977-78Tsuyuzaki 2009
Table 3. Number of vascular plant species during early development, middle years and the last measurement in a particular study; n.d. = no data available. (del Moral & Grishin 1999) (Later, merged with the above table)
Numberof species
Volcano (references)Eruption
Type of
Age (yr)YoungInter-mediateOld
Sakurajima, Japan (Tagawa 1964)1476Lava47555476
Rakata, Krakatau, Indonesia (Whittaker et al. 1992)1883Mixed10624253397
Anak Krakatau, Idonesia (Bush et al. 1992)1930Scoria6017-2045138
Mt Tarawera, New Zealand (Clarkson 1990)1886Lava93n. d.6374
El Paricutin, Mexico (Rejmanek et al. 1982)1943Pumice3421739
Mt Rainier, USA (Frenzen et al. 1988)1947Lahar33172132
Surtsey, Iceland (Fridrickson 1992)1963Lava/tephra2721524
Mount St Helens, USA (del Moral & Wood 1993)1980Pumice16n. d.2144
Mount St Helens, USA (del Moral & Wood 1988)1980Lahar1653146

Miyake Island (三宅島)

1 → Myk2 → 3
[1] scoria on October 12 1991. [2] foreground, Polygonum pathces on November 19 1988; background, a patch on November 19 1988. [3] alders on November 19 1988.

[volcanic geology (火山地質)]

Sakurajima Island (桜島)


The survey was conducted on lavas with different ages during the years of 1960 and 1963 (Tagawa 1964).

Erupted date 1476177919141946
Plant communityShrubShrubHerbMoss/Lichen

Mount St. Helens (セントへレンズ山)

Site1 Jon/Mandy2
[1] one of my study sites in the summer of 1993. Yellow flags were used to mark plots. [2] Mandy and Jon. The mountain covered with snow in the background is Mount St. Helens. Photo taken on September 24 1993.


  • canopy largely remains intact
  • snow matters, season matters, depth matters
  • life history and rooting patterns
  • old gorwth may buffer impacts

(del Moral 1983)

Revegetation on the volcanic deposits
Most platns did not recver by immigration → vegegative reproduction
Species richness was high on rough surface → microtopography Table. Plants observed on permanent plots in 1980. p: less than 0.0% in cover.
                       Thin    Thin   Tephra  Thick  Blast
                       tephra  mud            mud    area

  Number of pltos        4      3      14      12      9
  Lupinus latifolius    12.0   10.6     p              p
  Achillea millefolium   8.5    1.5     0.3     0.1    0.2
  Fragaria virginiana    3.0    0.1     0.5     0.1
  Agrostis diegoensis    4.2    0.3     3.9     0.2    0.3
  Polygonum newberry     0.2    0.3     0.9     0.1    0.1
  Species richness      19     14      26      11     16

Mount St. Helens – A Story of Succession Questions
  1. Did any plants survive the eruption? If so, how did they survive?
  2. What is the name for plants that survive a major disturbance? What was their role in regenerating the disturbed area?
  3. How was the prairie lupine important to the growth of plants on the barren land found after the eruption?
  4. What roles did factors such as wind, moisture, and landforms play in succession after the eruption?
  5. What roles did factors such as plant and animal interactions play in succession after the eruption?
  6. According to your reading of the story, what do you think a "colonizer" is?
  7. How has the red alder tree influenced succession?
  8. What do you predict will happen in the blast zone over time?
  9. What might change your prediction?

Surtsey Island

Vestmannaeyjar Islands

18 small volcanic islands and skerries: 0,01–13,4 km2
< 40.000 yrs old
17 volcanoes identified a.s.l.
Two eruptions in historic time, after ~5.000 yrs silence

Surtsey 1963-1967: born on the northwestern side of Iceland in 1963
Heimaey 1973

  • 2 years after: bacteria, fungi, flies, plant chips, sea plants, sea birds, and so on arrived and established
  • 4 years after: moss establishment
  • 1973: higher plants = 13 spp., Moss = 66 spp.
Rich marine life around islands
Great abundace and diversity of seabirds
Lush grassland and seacliff vegetation
Iceland mainland ca. 485 species
Heimaey ca. 150 species
Outer islands 1–30 species
Surtsey protection
Declared a Nature Reserve in 1965, set a site for scientific research and education, access limited
Unbroken record of geological and biological monitoring from 1964
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008
One of the better studied volcanos/islands on earth
Plant colonization and succession
1965: Marking of individual plants and mapping of species spread and distribution
1990: Permanent plots set up to follow successional changes

Design: lava vs tephra, coast vs crater, and gull cology inside vs outside

Fig. Vascular plant colonization from 1965 to 2017

Vascular plant colonization propable routes of dispersal
Sea = 8, Bird = 74%, Wind = 18%

New Zealand

Ex. Mount Ruapehu (Photo #1-2 Sunset, #3-5 Landscape, #6 クッション植物cushion plants, #7-8 Gentiana)
Volcanic ash - pH 5.5 - 6.0
Cushion plants: Rytidosperma, Helichryosum Gaultheria (shrubby), Drachyphyllum, Thamyria, Umberiferae sp., Gentiana sp., Reisotome

Luzula - 2 spp.: tiny one = weak to burial

Successional sere on volcanic ash
Bare → Colonization* → Dieback → Aggregation → Shrub → Forest

__________________|__other plants invade |
__________________|__dead patch_______|
__________________┗----------------------------┛ larger patch

* patchy colonization
Shrub - compositae species dominated (Photo), Celmisia, Infexa - Coriaria
Treeline - upper limit = 1300-1400 m alt.
No nitrogen-fixing plants on summit area
Moss, lichens, and blue-green algae have never dominated
Podocarpus - 3 spp.: P. ferrugianeus, P. totara, P. hallii
Nothofagus: N. menziesii, N. solandri var. cliffortioides

[ References for lectures]


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