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adaptation

adaptation  

1 (in evolution) Any change in the structure or functioning of successive generations of a population that makes it better suited to its environment. Natural selection of heritable adaptations ...
adaptive radiation

adaptive radiation  

The evolutionary process whereby species that are descended from a common ancestor diverge to exploit different ecological niches.
adaptive zone

adaptive zone  

A taxon that is considered together with its associated environmental regime(s), habitat, or niche. The adaptive specialization that fits the taxon to its environment, and hence the adaptive zone, ...
character displacement

character displacement  

The principle that two species are more different where they occur together (i.e. are sympatric) than where they are separated geographically (i.e. are allopatric). See allopatry; sympatry.
Charles Sutherland Elton

Charles Sutherland Elton  

(1900–91)British zoologist and ecologist, who founded the Bureau of Animal Population at Oxford in 1932 and the same year became editor of the new Journal of Animal Ecology. The first zoologist to ...
coloration

coloration  

The colour patterns on an animal's body surface. These are usually tailored to the animal's lifestyle, and have important functions in relation to advertisement, camouflage, mimicry, ...
community

community  

Generally, any grouping of populations of different organisms that are found living together in a particular environment; essentially, the biotic component of an ecosystem. The organisms interact and ...
competition

competition  

(in chemistry) rivalry between two or more different, but often similar, chemical species for a specific biochemical system, e.g. a receptor, enzyme, transport system, antibody molecule, or ion ...
competitive exclusion principle

competitive exclusion principle  

A rule, derived by G. F. Gause in 1934, stating that two species that occupy the same habitat cannot also occupy the same ecological niche. Any two species that occupy the same niche will compete ...
competitive release

competitive release  

An expansion in the food preferences and foraging range of an animal that follows a reduction in the intensity of competition by other species.
current competition

current competition  

Competition in which species restrict one another to niches that are smaller than those they would occupy were competitors absent. See competitive release.
Dollo law

Dollo law  

The proposition that a structure or function lost in the course of evolution is never regained in its original form, and that in this sense evolution is irreversible. [Named after the Belgian ...
ecological equivalent

ecological equivalent  

Unrelated organisms that occupy similar habitats and resemble each other. Ecological equivalents result from convergent evolution. For example, sharks (fish) and dolphins (mammals) live in a marine ...
ecological species concept

ecological species concept  

A definition of species as a set of organisms that is adapted to a particular set of resources (niche) in the environment, which explains differences in form and behaviour between species as ...
ecotope

ecotope  

An area that has uniform environmental conditions and characteristic plants and animals. Also known as a biotope.
effect hypothesis

effect hypothesis  

A model proposed in 1980 by the palaeontologist Elisabeth Vrba to account for evolutionary trends. She proposed that a species, occupying a restricted ecological niche, would continually give rise to ...
equilibrium species

equilibrium species  

Species that show characteristics consonant with a stable niche. Dispersal is less important, perseverance is more significant than recovery from adverse conditions, and the survival of the young is ...
exaptation

exaptation  

A morphological or physiological character that predisposes an organism to adapt to a changed environment or lifestyle. For example, a hearing mechanism sensitive to low-frequency sound evolved in ...
feeding

feeding  

All behaviour that involves the obtaining, manipulation, and ingestion of food. Compare foraging.
food chain

food chain  

In ecology (1), a hierarchy of organisms in which each is consumed as food by one or more of the ones above it. See also pyramid of numbers.

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