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colonization

[ kŏl′ə-nĭ-zāshən ]
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The spreading of a species into a new habitat. For example, flying insects and birds are often the first animal species to initiate colonization of barren islands formed by vulcanism or falling water levels. The first plant species to colonize such islands are often transported there as airborne seeds or through the droppings of birds.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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