Meaning of Ecological Niche

What is ecological niche:

ecological niche is the set of survival strategies of a species or population against the distribution of conditions, resources and competitors within an ecosystem.

In biology, the ecological niche refers to the function, role and response that an animal or plant species fulfills in a habitat taking into account biotic factors (interaction with other species), abiotic factors (temperature, pH, light, etc.) and anthropogenic (man-made) factors.

The ecological niche is the function that each species performs within a given ecosystem. For example, there are pollinators, predators, scavengers, decomposers, distributors, and many more.

Each species or population acts under environmental conditions determined by the habitat and the interaction and presence of other species, such as the abundance or scarcity of resources, the way they feed, compete, hunt, protect themselves from predators, adaptation, etc. thus determining a specific ecological niche.

In ecology, it is important to determine the ecological niches of the habitat to identify the emergence of a gap in an ecological niche or if there is an occupation or invasion of the ecological niche by native organisms by introduced alien species. This is important to preserve the species, taking care that their ecological niches do not disappear.

See also What is a niche?

Difference Between Ecological Niche and Habitat

The ecological niche is inserted in a habitat, but a habitat can have several ecological niches. When we refer to habitat, we are indicating the physical place or spatial niche.

See also Habitat.

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Types of ecological niche

The ecological niche is the conditions and interactions within an ecosystem that species or populations insert themselves to maintain their population. It can be divided into two types:

  • Fundamental niche or potential ecological niche: is a niche in which a species would be able to survive regardless of interactions with other species.
  • Effective niche or real ecological niche: refers to the conditions and resources that allow a species to maintain its stable population.