In 1963 a fiery volcanic eruption underwater just off the Iceland coast pushed the island of Surtsey above the waves. At first, it was a black cinder cone, barren of life. Surtsey grew to about a square mile in area. Ecologists seized on the chance to see how life would go about colonizing Surtsey. Within forty years, hundreds of species were living on Surtsey. Surtsey was the first really well-studied process of succession, which of course is still taking place.
The way the ecologists seized the chance to see how life would colonize the island of Surtsey was by declaring the island as a nature preserve in 1965. Interestingly, this was made while the eruption was still going on. This was done so that the island could proceed with the natural ecological succession without any human intervention. Only a few scientists are allowed on the island in to observe the colonization. As a result, scientists have been able to study and document the different plants, animals, insects, and so on that have found its way to the island.
One excellent resource for gathering information on the succession study can be found on the Surtsey Research Society's website at http://www.surtsey.is/index_eng.htm. This website offers information on the colonization of the island based on observations made by the scientists ...
In about 515 words, this solution discusses the island of Surtsey and how this island is related to the subject of succession. References are also included for additional information and images/maps.