After a successful trip, I believe I've now collected all the photographs in existence for the 1916-2016 permanent plot network in Glacier Bay. There are quite a few, and show a great progression from rock to... well, it depends! One plot has spruce, another couple are alder, and most are just willows. This is different from other successional trajectories observed in Glacier Bay, and probably new anywhere. It appears that willow, an early successional group of species, completely took over some plots and haven't relinquished control after 100 years. Pretty cool, and it appears that space is the governing factor, specifically distance from seed source (a mechanism which does agree with other studies, but take to the extreme).
This coming summer I hope to do more tree coring with Dr. Greg Wiles at Wooster to determine when the cohort of late successional species (which aren't spreading well) established - it looks like an early invasion which failed to propagate further than the initial wave, but that needs to be confirmed. We also hope to do more soil microbial work and establish a parallel set of plots for the next century. More info on the study page.
One the best comparisons is Q4. Compare, say, the 1949 picture to the 2016 image of Sarah attempting to find the corner spikes (below). That's just willows. Impressive not so much for the fact that there's growth, but that little willow in 1949 (and it's offspring) has managed to repel all later successional species, like alder or spruce, for 100 years!