Niche

Niche

  • Definitions
    • 1904 Grinnell: a distributional unit that describes where an organism lives
    • 1927 Elton: an organisms functional role in a community
    • 1958 Hutchinson: a n-dimensional hypervolume
      • every point in a space that corresponds to where an organism can live
    • Note the way definitions progess towards emphasizing connectivities and the uniqueness of habitats and organisms
    • Important to remember that niche includes both biotic and abiotic factors
  • Competitive Exclusion Principle: (Gause's Principle)
    • No two species can inhabit the same niche
    • Biotic and abiotic factors are arranged in such a way that species are utilizing resources in different ways
    • Fundamental question: does this negate the concept of competition in nature?

Warbler Niche Structure

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  • Each species utilizes a different aspect of the tree's habitat to reduce competition with other species
  • This allows multiple species to extract resources from the same location.

Ways to Create Multiple Niches in the same Habitat

  • Temporal: noctural vs. diurnal animals, owls and hawks each feed on rodents but at different times
  • Spatial: Warbler example, use different spaces within a habitat
  • Functional: Extract different resources, woodpeckers eat insects, finches eat nuts
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