Ecological Niche Essay

1287 Words Mar 16th, 2013 6 Pages
Ecological niche
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Black smokers create ecological niches with their unusual environment
In ecology, a niche (CanE, UK /ˈniːʃ/ or US /ˈnɪtʃ/)[1] is a term describing the way of life of a species. Each species is thought to have a separate, unique niche. The ecological niche describes how an organism or population responds to the distribution of resources and competitors (e.g., by growing when resources are abundant, and when predators, parasites and pathogens are scarce) and how it in turn alters those same factors (e.g., limiting access to resources by other organisms, acting as a food source for predators and a consumer of prey).[2]
The majority of species exist in a
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[edit] Eltonian niche
In 1927 Charles Sutherland Elton, a British ecologist, gave the first working definition of the niche concept. He is credited with saying: "[W]hen an ecologist says 'there goes a badger,' he should include in his thoughts some definite idea of the animal's place in the community to which it belongs, just as if he had said, 'there goes the vicar.'"[4]
The Eltonian niche encompasses the idea that the niche is the role a species plays in a community, rather than a habitat.
[edit] Hutchinsonian niche

Squirrels in public parks may have a different ecological niche than those with less human contact.
The Hutchinsonian niche views niche as an n-dimensional hypervolume, where the dimensions are environmental conditions and the resources that define the requirements of an individual or a species to practise "its" way of life.
The niche concept was popularized by the zoologist G. Evelyn Hutchinson in 1957.[5] Hutchinson wanted to know why there are so many different types of organisms in any one habitat.
An organism free of interference from other species could use the full range of conditions (biotic and abiotic) and resources in which it could survive and reproduce which is called its fundamental niche. However, as a result of

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