Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment
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Niche is where species or population is in its ecosystem. In lesser term, how they make a living. There are diffrent dimensions of a niche that has a wide variety of aspects of the environment which must be considered.
• 3 sets of parameters:
I.Range of physical factors for survival and reproduction: temperature, humidity, pH, soil, sunlight, etc.
II. Biological factors: predators, prey, parasites, competitors, etc.
III. Behavior: seasonality, diurnal patterns, movement, social organization, etc.
Example: Bristlecone pines - They are only adaptive alone the treeline of snow-cap mountains. Another is the Devils Pud fish in Nevada. Thermophiles too are great example of niche.
Hope this helps.
An ecological niche is the role an organism plays in a community in terms of the habitat it occupies, e.g., both a wolf and the wolf spider are predators. So they occupy the same ecological niche, albeit in a different habitat (even though they can live together in the same area, the habitat of the spider is of course much smaller than that of the wolf). While the lynx and the wolf could occupy the same ecological niche, which means they then would have to compete for the same resources (prey). So there can be ecological niches such as: predator, herbivore, detrivore, etc.
The definition I like is from http://www.nps.gov/glba/forteachers/marine-environment-instructional-resources.htm
; however, for completeness I would also include procreate.
while searching for the source of this definition, I came across this http://www.montana.edu/screel/Webpages/Bio%20303/Biol%20303%20niches.pdf
From Mitchell, Paul; Ecology, 101 Key Ideas; NTC Publishing Group; Chicago, IL; 2000; p069
ecowiki lists 4:
Grinnellian niche: The Ecologist J. Grinnell was the first to use the term niche to describe the relationship between a species and its environment. His conceptualization pictured the niche as being the sum of the habitat requirements of a species. Niches in his view could be differentially occupied and vacated by species (Grinnell, 1917).
Eltonian niche: C. Elton is most famous for his work on understanding the flow of energy throughout ecosystems via food-webs. He devised a niche concept that was based on the role of a species in its environment in terms of its position within a food-web (Elton, 1927).
Hutchinsonian niche: G. E. Hutchinson, perhaps the most famous Ecologist who ever lived, developed a fully quantitative and revolutionary conception of the niche, based partly on the work of G. F. Gause who developed the competitive exclusion principle. He suggested that the niche could be represented mathematically as an n-dimensional hyper-volume whose dimensions corresponded to resource/environmental gradients over which the species in question was distributed in some uni-modal fashion. The niche according to Hutchinson could be divided into two facets; the realized niche which is the sum of a species niche dimensions that are unique to that particular species (if any) and the fundamental niche, which is the totality of a species niche dimensions, both shared with other species and unshared. The Hutchinsonian niche is defined by the species that it contains, in the absence of a species the niche can not exist in any Hutchinsonian sense, also competition can be measured by the magnitude of species nice overlap. (Hutchinson, 1944).
Chase and Leibold's ecological niche: J. Chase and M. Leibold have attempted to re-evaluate the usefulness of the niche concept after it fell into scientific 'disrepute' in the 1960s due to hypothetico-deductive criticisms concerning the lack of adequate null hypotheses when it was applied for the purpose of making long term and long range biodiversity predictions. Their fundamental premise is to address the niche in terms of criticisms levelled against it by biogeographers and neutralists, especially advocates of S. Hubbell's particular variety of neutralism. They 're-work' the niche concept to take into account the per-capita effects of a species on its environment and the idea that a minimum number of resources are required to sustain a species fittness (Chase and Leibold, 2003).
I like the "makes a living" definition, and the Hutchinsonian, "N-dimensional hyper-volume measured across N-resource states."
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