This chapter examines natural aquatic disturbances least affected by human activities. The ten disturbances — animal carcasses, volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, earthquakes, erosion and deposition, floods and droughts, tsunamis and other waves, and cyclones — are listed by increasing spatial extent, or percentage of the land mass that they affect. Many similarities exist between aquatic and terrestrial disturbances (e.g., tectonic activity) but typical limiting resources for post-disturbance colonizers often differ and include stable surfaces for colonization, light, oxygen, phosphorus, and iron. Responses can be more rapid than in terrestrial habitats because of rapidly mixing nutrients. It is past time to further our understanding of disturbances affecting aquatic biomes, which cover two-thirds of the earth's surface.
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