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Abstract

Glaciers are retreating globally, and the resulting ice-free areas provide an experimental system for understanding species colonization patterns, community formation, and dynamics. The last several years have seen crucial advances in our understanding of biotic colonization after glacier retreats, resulting from the integration of methodological innovations and ecological theories. Recent empirical studies have demonstrated how multiple factors can speed up or slow down the velocity of colonization and have helped scientists develop theoretical models that describe spatiotemporalchanges in community structure. There is a growing awareness of how different processes (e.g., time since glacier retreat, onset or interruption of surface processes, abiotic factors, dispersal, biotic interactions) interact to shape community formation and, ultimately, their functional structure through succession. Here, we examine how these studies address key theoretical questions about community dynamics and show how classical approaches are increasingly being combined with environmental DNA metabarcoding and functional trait analysis to document the formation of multitrophic communities, revolutionizing our understanding of the biotic processes that occur following glacier retreat.

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2021-11-03
2024-04-20
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