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Community Ecology.docx

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BIOL 103
Peter T Boag

EARLIER LECTURE: WATCHING ARMS RACE VIDEO Community Ecology - A biological community consists of interacting species, usually living within a defined area. A community lies between the spatial scales of a biome and a population - Community ecology – studies how groups of species interact and form functional communities - Species distribute according to ‘tolerance ranges’ due to genetic physiological, and lifecycle characteristics and interactions with other species - With sharp changes in biotic and abiotic environment, community composition may change abruptly; area where distinct communities meet is an ecotone - But often find broad overlap of species populations along environmental gradients’ communities grade into each other continuously rather than forming distinct, clearly separated groups, making definition of community fuzzy - Ecological Niche o Distinctive lifestyle ad role of an organism in a community o Takes into account all abiotic and biotic aspects o For example, an organism’s habitat is one parameter used to describe the niche - Fundamental Niche o Potential ecological niche for an organism, in absence of competing species and predators - Realized niche o Niche an organism actually occupies o Here focus on biotic factors affecting realized niche - Abiotic factors may set potential distribution of plant species ‘S’, but competing taxa ‘A-E’ restrict niche actually occupied - The circles are like venn diagrams where there is overlapping circles - Competition o Two or more individuals attempting to use the same resource, including space
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