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Interaction Among Organisms: Competition

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Interaction Among Organisms: Competition

Biology

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You will learn about intraspecific and interspecific competition.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain why organisms compete.
  • Compare and contrast intraspecific competition and interspecific competition.
  • Describe the results of the competitive exclusion principle.
  • Explain resource partitioning.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Members of the same species living in a specific area make up a population. Factors affecting a population's size include the availability of food and space, weather conditions, and breeding patterns. A population's growth depends on how quickly its members reproduce. A population may undergo exponential growth if it multiplies by a constant factor at constant time intervals. However, in nature, factors exist that can slow a population's growth. A population has reached its carrying capacity when a factor limits its growth.

A community is a group of species living together in the same geographic area. Competition can occur when members of the same species or community occupy the same space, consume from the same food supply, and drink from the same water supply. Interspecific competition occurs when two or more species rely on the same limited resource. In some situations, competition may result in one species succeeding over another, which is called the competitive exclusion principle. Within a community, each species has a unique niche that includes its living place, its food sources, the time of day it is active, and other aspects of its way of life. Intraspecific competition occurs among members of the same species. It is an important factor in limiting the population size of many species.

Resource partitioning occurs when two or more species require different parts of the same resource. Resource partitioning helps competing species share a resource and develop a niche for themselves within an ecosystem.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 45 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with these terms: community, ecology, food web, habitat, population, and niche.
Course Biology
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary carrying capacity, competition in the ecosystem, competitive exclusive principle