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Habitat & Niches

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Habitat2108.ppt

Habitat
Totality of environment factors in which a population or species regularly lives. Space and time
Physical and biotic environment Vegetation
Forest, meadow, pasture, coniferous forest, etc.

24 June 2009

Habitat2108.ppt

Habitat
Habitats may be subdivided into layers or zones
Microhabitats
Forest canopy: leaves, branches Shrub layer: leaves, branches, trunks Herb layer: leaves, stems, mosses, ferns Litter: dead fallen leaves, logs,
Varies in depth, quality

Soil: topsoil, subsoil


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Niche
Species/populations role in its community
Dimensions of a niche:
Habitat & microhabitat (Space occupied) Food spectrum, essential nutrients Reproductive requirements
Nutrition, nest/den sites

Seasonality: When are resources required, used.

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Habitat2108.ppt

Niche
Fundamental niche
All resources that could be used in absence of competition.

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Habitat2108.ppt

Niche
Realized niche
Resources actually used in presence of competitor.

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Habitat2108.ppt

Niches
Competitive exclusion
When forced to compete, one species eliminates other(s)

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Habitat2108.ppt

Niches
Resource partitioning avoids competition; Realized niches divide resources (caterpillars) among several species of warblers. Each species evolved & adapted to specialized diet.
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Niches
Character displacement
Species evolve to minimize competition Niche and morphologic overlap when allopatric Difference and specialization when sympatric

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Habitat2108.ppt

Keystone Species
Species in a community with vital role in community organization. Analogy to arch

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Keystone Species
Species in a community with vital role in community organization. Sea otter on North Americas Pacific Coast

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Keystone Species
More examples:
Sea stars on rocky shores Dominant plant species
Lupines in mountain meadows

Invasive species may prey on or parasitize keystone


Human removal of sea otters, wolves, sharks

Top carnivores
Wolves in Yellowstone National park Sharks on coral reefs

Out-compete keystone for space or resources

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Niches
Invasive species may prey on or parasitize keystone
Sea lamprey parasitizes large predatory fishes in Great Lakes.

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Niches
Out-compete keystone for space or resources
Imported fire ant Kudzu

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Niches
Out-compete keystone for space or resources
Purple loosestrife Zebra mussel

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Invasive species:
Kudzu Fire ant Zebra mussel Purple loosestrife Leafy spurge Asian long-horned beetle Emerald ash borer Japanese beetle
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African honeybee Tiger mosquito Brown snake


Guam

European starling House sparrow More, & more, &


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