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Ecological Niches and Geographic Distributions (MPB-49)$
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A. Townsend Peterson, Jorge Soberón, Richard G. Pearson, Robert P. Anderson, Enrique Martínez-Meyer, Miguel Nakamura, and Miguel B. Araújo

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691136868

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691136868.001.0001

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Concepts of Niches

Concepts of Niches

(p.7) Chapter Two Concepts of Niches
Ecological Niches and Geographic Distributions (MPB-49)

A. Townsend Peterson

Jorge Soberón

Richard G. Pearson

Robert P. Anderson

Enrique Martínez-Meyer

Miguel Nakamura

Miguel Bastos Araújo

Princeton University Press

This chapter proposes a formal and operational definition of a particular niche concept, introduces approaches for characterizing and measuring it, and uses it as a conceptual and terminological basis for describing and understanding much of the related practices of ecological niche modeling and species distribution modeling. It begins with a discussion of the themes that are most important in understanding niche concepts, focusing on three interrelated points: the meaning of “exist indefinitely”; what kinds of variables constitute the hypervolume; and the nature of feedback loops between a species and the variables composing the hypervolume. The chapter then considers the Grinnellian and Eltonian niches as well as the practicalities of estimating Grinnellian niches. It also considers two important interpretations of the niche concept, one of which is concerned with geographic and environmental spaces, and the other emphasizes the Eltonian niche.

Keywords:   niche concept, ecological niche modeling, species distribution modeling, hypervolume, feedback loop, Grinnellian niche, geographic space, environmental space, Eltonian niche, species distribution

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