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Ecology of Climate ChangeThe Importance of Biotic Interactions$
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Eric Post

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148472

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148472.001.0001

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The Niche Concept

The Niche Concept

(p.132) Chapter 5 The Niche Concept
Ecology of Climate Change

Eric Post

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the niche concept. One of the earliest applications of the niche theory in quantitative ecology addressed the seemingly simple question of the extent to which the niches of two species can overlap and allow co-occurrence or coexistence of the species. This question grew out of the then recent development of the notions of limiting similarity and niche packing, according to which coexistence among species with similar resource requirements was assumed to be promoted through minimization of niche overlap through divergence in habitat utilization patterns or character displacement. The answer is highly relevant in the context of climate change, or of any environmental change in general. Fluctuation in abiotic conditions such as mean annual temperature may be seen as just as important, if not more so, to the persistence or maintenance of the degree of niche overlap that is tolerable for co-occurring species as the trend in abiotic conditions itself.

Keywords:   niche concept, niche theory, quantitative ecology, coexistence, niche packing, niche overlap, habitat utilization patterns, character displacement, climate change, abiotic conditions

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