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Why are some plants carnivorous? What is this an adaption to?
Competition among plants can be intense where soil nutrients are scarce. Some plants are carnivorous as an adaptation to low-nutrient environments.
What is the definition of competition? What is the difference between inter- and intraspecific competition?
Competition is an interaction between individuals in which each is harmed by their shared use of a limiting resource.
-Interspecific: between members of different species
-Intraspecific: between individuals of a single species.
Name some examples of resources that organisms might compete for. Why isn't something like temperature considered a resource, even though it influences a species' ability to survive?
Resources are features of the environment required fro growth, survival, or reproduction, that can be consumed to the point of depletion.
-Examples: food, water (terrestrial habitats), light, space (sessile) or space for refuge, nesting, etc.
-temperature (also pH and salinity) isn't considered a resource because it CANNOT BE CONSUMED.
When two species both use the same resource, what can happen?
Resources not readily available--can become scarce. Can drive one species to extinction.
When resources are scarce, what happens to competition?
Competition is more intense.
-competition increases in nutrient-poor soils or low light levels.
In Wilson and Tilman's experiment, what did they find about competition in plants related to resource availability?
-when two species were grown alone, a stable population was reached.
-when grown together, they competed for the same resource (silica), and one species drove the other to extinction.
Competition is extremely important in ecology, but why might the studies showing this be biased?
-researchers may not publish studies that show no significant effects.
-a tendency for investigators to study species they suspect will show competition.
-document that competition is common, though not ubiquitous.
What can competition influence over time?
Evolution and species distributions.
What is exploitation competition? Is this direct or indirect competition? How is this different from interference competition?
Exploitative competition is when species compete INDIRECTLY--individuals reduce the availability of a resource as they use it. (most common)
-Interference competition is when species compete DIRECTLY for access to a resource and can use antagonistic actions to do so.
-sessile organisms--acorn barnacles smothering nearby species to directly exclude it from portions of the intertidal zone.
-plants---kudzu grows over other species and limits light availability.
What is allelopathy in plants?
Allelopathy is when plants of one species release toxins that harm other species.
When two species are competing over the same resource, is it normally evenly consumed by both? What happens?
One consumes more than the other.
What is amensalism?
Amensalism is the idea that one species is negatively affected while the other isn't affected at all.
-represented at both ends of the continuum of how strongly each competitor affects the other.
In the ant and rodent competition experiment, when one competitor was removed, how much did the remaining species consume?
When one species was removed, the population of the one remaining increased and also consumed as many seeds as both species combined.
How can competition affect species distributions? Explain using the barnacle example.
The barnacle study found that two species of barnacle have overlapping larvae distributions, but not in their adult forms. "C" species found at the top of the intertidal zone and "S" species found throughout the rest of the zone. "S" species smothered the other species, but dried out and couldn't survive at top of intertidal zone. Both persisted becasue "C" species can survive at the top even though it is being driven there by its competitor.
What was the "natural experiment" used to look at species distribution with and without competition? What did they find?
Studied chipmunk species in mountain forests and found that species that lived alone on a mountain occupied a wider range of habitats than when it lived with a competitor species.
--example of interspecific competition.
What happened when multiple species of paramecium were grown together? How did this compare to when they were grown alone? What was this an example of?
-when grown alone, they reached a stable carrying capacity.
-when paired, some species drove others to extinction.
-found that it depended on their ecological niche and how they used resources. (exploitive competition)
Two species that use a limiting resource in the same way cannot coexist indefinitely. What do they do in response?
(competitive exclusion principle)
-cope with this by using resource partitioning: species use the limiting resource in different ways.
The L-V model is used to understand how different factors affect the outcomes of
•Population size (N)
•Carrying capacity (K)
•Intrinsic rate of increase (r)
•Competition coefficients, αand β(constants
that describe the effect of one species on the other)
Using competition coefficients, when does coexistence occur?
Coexistence occurs when species are equally strong competitors and have similar effects on each other.
-both end up with lower carrying capacity than expected
-coexistence more likely when competing species used resources in different ways.
What is competitive reversal? How can the introduction of another species result in competitive reversal? How can this change the outcome of competition?
Competitive reversal: the inferior competitor in one habitat becomes the superior competitor in another.
-presence of herbivores can lead to competitive reversals if they feed on the superior competitor.
How does disturbance play a role in competition? How are fugitive species related to this?
Disturbances can damage some individuals, while creating opportunities for others. Some species can persist in an area only if disturbances like fires or storms occur regularly.
-fugitive species are species that must disperse from one place to another as conditions change. ex) forest plants that need sunlight are found only where disturbance has opened tree canopy.
What is the general trend of biodiversity in areas with low disturbance?
generally, populations decline over time becasue of their competitors. (meaning most species can only exist in areas where disturbances persist and competitors are reduced)
How can evolution affect competition? What is character displacement?
species can evolve to become better competitors through natural selection.
-natural selection can influence the morphology of competing species resulting in character displacement--phenotypes of competing species become more different over time.
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