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Topic 12. Resource Partitioning, Ecological Niche, Character Displacement I. Resource partitioning (general considerations) A. Def. The ways in which species differ in resource use. B. Possible kinds of ways: 1. Food type a. size b. hardness (as for seeds) c. taxon 2. Space – habitat a. broad spatial scale = macrohabitat. e.g. vegetation zone b. narrow spatial scale = microhabitat , e.g. place in tree 3. Time (of activity) a. daily b. seasonal II. The ecological niche (language of resource partitioning) A. Def – multidimensional utilization distribution slide Gives a population’s resource use over various niche axes (= niche dimensions). This idea of the niche is in fact a frequency histogram. Example on slide has food size and feeding height as the two niche axes or dimensions. Can be more than two dimensions but hard to picture.
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III. Examples from real organisms A. In lab, similar species often did not coexist. Gause with Paramecium discussed for Topic 12. As a result of his experiments, he gave the Gause Principle : Two species cannot coexist if they use resources too similarly. The one pair that did coexist ate different foods (yeast vs bacteria see text especially Figure 11.10. B. In field, species are often dramatically different, i.e., they show a high degree of resource partitioning: 1. Terms on Christmas Island (Ashmole): Food size 2 slides 2. Warblers NE USA (MacArthur): microhabitat
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