Ecological niche


noun, plural: ecological niches

The ecological role and space that an organism fills in an ecosystem.


The ecological niche involves both the place where an organism lives and the roles that an organism does in its habitat. For example, the ecological niche of a sunflower growing in the backyard includes absorbing light, water and nutrients (for photosynthesis), providing shelter and food for other organisms (e.g. bees, ants, etc.), and giving off oxygen into the atmosphere.

Word origin: ecological + niche.

See also: realized niche, fundamental niche.

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