Think about a volcano emerging from the surface of the ocean and forming a new island, new land. At first there is no life of any kind on the island. Eventually, however, after the lava has cooled, there may be some bacteria and fungi begin to grow on the lava at the edge of the water, and these microorganisms begin a very long, slow process of breaking down the rock.

Then algae can begin to colonize the rocks, growing on the decomposed rock material.

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