Habitat Vs Niche Overview
A habitat is a natural setting where a certain type of creature dwells and makes use of the area’s resources for things like food, shelter, protection, and reproduction.
- The Latin word “habitare” which means “to occupy,” is the source of the word “habitat”.
- An organism’s physical and biological traits define its environment.
- Soil type, land availability, sunshine, temperature, and climatic variables are only a few examples of the physical components. The availability of food and the existence or absence of predators are biological considerations.
- As observed with parasitic organisms, a habitat need not always be a physical location. It can instead be a single cell, or even the host’s body or certain bodily parts.
- The four basic elements of a habitat are environment, cover, food, and water. The right ratio of each of these elements would be present in an ideal ecosystem, but this might not always be the case.
- Animals and plants need environment to survive, and the area of space they need will vary depending on the species. For instance, for a complete colony to thrive and locate food, carpenter ants may only need a few square inches of area. Cougars, on the other hand, are solitary, territorial creatures that need 455 square kilometers of area in order to hunt and locate a mate.
- Similar to mammals, plants need both height and diameter space. A giant plant with a strong trunk and a gigantic height may not grow or survive in locations like a park or yard.
- The habitat or location that animals choose to live is significantly influenced by the availability of food. Even with ample room, water, and shelter, a habitat wouldn’t be acceptable if there wasn’t enough food.
- All creatures need some type of water which is another vital element of an environment where needs might vary from species to species.
- Shelter is the area needed by organisms to defend themselves against weather and predators. You can think of the shelter as a place where you can hunt, eat, sleep, and raise a family.
- Habitats may change over time as a result of a long-term change in climate or major environmental changes like a volcano eruption or tornado.
- Human activities like urbanization, pollution, and deforestation may be at fault for other changes.
- A species’ functional role and position in its habitat is known as its niche, and it outlines how the species adapts to the distribution of resources, rival species, and predators.
- Like a habitat, the niche is influenced by both biotic and abiotic elements of the specific environment.
- However, a niche describes how a population interacts with these variables and how it affects the environment and other living things.
- For instance, when a population in an environment makes use of the resources and breeds to create more organisms, the resources available to predators rise.
- When discussing living things, the phrase “ecological niche” is frequently used, since it refers to how the creatures interact with the ecosystem.
- An organism’s niche, which is a component of its environment, focuses on what it does to live there.
- Because niche entails the transfer of energy from one species to another, it’s crucial to comprehend what a species consumes and how it interacts with other living things.
- If a niche is left open, another species may occupy it. Some creatures, however, may carve out a special place for themselves, which lessens competition for resources with other species.
- To prevent extinction, however, it is also crucial for species to be able to adapt to changes in the ecosystem. Because of this, many species often adapt or develop to survive in a variety of environmental circumstances.
- Different species have different types and numbers of ecological niche-defining factors, and the relative weights of these variables may also change depending on the biotic and geographical settings.
- The core niche is made up of all the biotic and abiotic elements that a species needs to survive, while limiting elements are those that restrict the population, such as competition and predators.
- Three different types of niches—the geographical or habitat niche, the trophic niche, and the multidimensional niche—are based on how animals interact with the physical and biological world.
- A species’ physical space inside its environment is known as its spatial or habitat niche.
- The trophic level that a species occupies in the food chain or ecological chain is known as its trophic niche.
- The fundamental niche concept and the limiting factors make up the multidimensional niche.
Key Differences (Habitat vs Niche)
|Basis for Comparison||Habitat||Niche|
|Definition||A habitat is a natural environment where a particular organism lives and utilizes the resources of that place for their survival, food, shelter, protection, and mating.||Niche is the functional role and position of a species in its environment that describes how the species responds to the distribution of resources and competitors or predators.|
|Composed of||A habitat might have one or more niches.||A niche is a unit that doesn’t have further components.|
|Deals with||A habitat deals with the effect of temperature, climate, and similar factors on the survival of an organism.||A niche deals with the flow of energy from one species to another and its interaction with the abiotic factors.|
|Species||A habitat might support more than one species at a time.||A niche is specific to a species and only supports a single species of organisms.|
|Nature||Habitat is a physical space occupied by species.||Niche is the activities and interactions a species has with other species and the environments.|
|Represents||Habitat represents the address of an organism.||Niche represents the profession or occupation of an organism.|
|Specificity||Habitat is not specific to species.||Niche is specific to a particular species.|
|What is it?||Habitat is a superset that contains other components.||Niche is a subset of a habitat.|
|Size||Habitat is larger in size.||A niche is smaller than a habitat.|
|Trophic level||Habitat doesn’t indicate the trophic level of a species in an ecosystem.||Niche defines the trophic level of a species in an ecosystem.|
|Changes||Habitat of an organism remains the same for a longer period of time.||Living beings might change their niche within a shorter time like seasons.|
|Influence||Habitat of a species might influence its niche.||Niche is a result of the habitat and rarely affects the habitats of the species.|
|Types||The five major types of habitat include; forests, grasslands, deserts, mountains, and polar regions, and aquatic habitats.||The three major types of niche; spatial or habitat niche, trophic niche, and multidimensional niche.|
|Examples||Grasslands, lakes, mountains, deserts, etc., are some examples of habitat.||Birds in New Zealand, niches occupied by pandas are some examples of niches.|
Examples of Habitat
- Grasslands is an example of an environment that receives more rain than deserts but less than woods.
- The majority of the vegetation in these places is grass, which uses less water than the big trees in the woods.
- Except for Antarctica, all the world’s land is covered with grassland. These are often located in the mountainous and hilly interiors of continents.
- Tropical grasslands and temporal grasslands are the two main types of grasslands.
- While temporal grasslands may have more trees, tropical grasslands often have fewer trees spread among the grasslands.
- While temporal grasslands are more common in North America and Europe, tropical grasslands are more common in East Africa and Australia.
- Giraffes, buffaloes, hyenas, ground squirrels, zebras, bees, and other common species can be seen in grasslands.
- Purple needle grass, wild oats, foxtail, ryegrass, and buffalo grass are some of the common species found in grassland ecosystems.
- Of all the environments on earth, the oceans have the highest diversity.
- In the cold polar regions, the warm deep sea, and diverse thermal vents, there exist animals and vegetation.
- The plants and animals that inhabit these environments adjust to a variety of factors including water pressure, temperature, and movement, as well as light intensity and abundance.
- Coastal and open ocean environments are the two categories into which species in marine ecosystems may be separated. In coastal environments, areas that are remote from the ocean tides but close to the beach can be found.
- Coastal ecosystems are home to the majority of marine creatures and plants.
- The marine habitats are altered according to the types of species that live there, and alter the habitats for other animal groups.
- Fish like sharks, stingrays, and rockfish, as well as various mammals like blue whales, seals, walruses, and otters, are frequently seen in marine areas.
- In this ecosystem, there are other invertebrates like molluscs and certain arthropods.
- In maritime ecosystems, you may also find plants like sea cabbages, marsh grasses, coral reefs, algae, and mosses.
Examples of Niche
Birds in New Zealand
- Some unusual plants and animals use New Zealand as a niche, since it is an island cut off from the rest of the globe.
- Given how far away this region is from the rest of the planet, it has relatively few species that can fly or swim.
- In the past, these voids were filled by local creatures like flying birds when there were no outside animals.
- The first known predators of this area were flying birds. But because there were no land animals, these birds soon settled on the ground to fill the void and eventually lost their ability to fly.
- Enormous birds took the place of large animals, growing up to 12 feet tall and weighing 500 pounds, like the Giant Moa.
- Kiwis are land-dwelling birds that eat seeds and insects while sharing habitats with small animals like mice and moles.
- The Kakapo Parrot, the Giant Moa, and the South Island Takah are the most prevalent birds in New Zealand.
- Panda bears live in particular habitats where they eat only a small variety of plants, mostly bamboo.
- In order to save the meagre energy they obtain from these bamboos, pandas do not go very far.
- They refrain from engaging in intra-or interspecific competition in order to save the energy available.
- Additionally, they have no natural predators and only have one offspring every two years in order to maintain a low population and prevent competition.
- Their market is very responsive to human activity since it is specialised.
- They usually eat and reside among the bamboo trees, which people are destroying more and more of for farming or mining.
- These are currently primarily restricted to South Western China’s wet or temperate bamboo forests.
References and Sources
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- 1% – https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oceans/ocean-habitats.htm
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- <1% – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_factor
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