Five Types of Ecological Relationships | Education - Seattle PI
competition—when two or more organisms rely on the same environmental resource Ask: What is the ecological relationship between the monk seal and the. Competition is an interaction between organisms or species in which both the organisms or species are harmed. The interaction among organisms within or between overlapping niches can be characterized into five types of relationships: competition, predation.
Metabiosis is commensalism in which one species is dependent on the other for survival. Phoresy is when one organism temporarily attaches to another organism for the purposes of transportation. Parasitism Parasitism is a relationship in which one organism benefits and the other organism is harmed, but not always killed.
The organism that benefits is called the parasite, and the one that is harmed is the host. Parasitism is different from parasitoidism, which is when the host is always killed, such as when one organism lays its egg inside another organism that is later eaten by the hatchlings.
Parasites can be ectoparasites -- such as ticks, fleas, and leeches -- that live on the surface of the host. Parasites can also be endoparasites -- such as intestinal worms — that live inside the host. Endoparasites can be further categorized into intercellular parasites, that live in the space between cells, or intracellular parasites, which live inside of cells.
There is also something called hyperparasitism, which is when a parasite is infected by another parasite, such as a microorganism living in a flea, which lives on a dog. Mutualism Mutualism is a relationship in which both species benefit. Mutualistic interaction patterns occur in three forms. Obligate mutualism is when one species cannot survive apart from the other.
Diffusive mutualism is when one organism can live with more than one partner. Facultative mutualism is when one species can survive on its own under certain conditions. On top of these, mutualistic relationships have three general purposes. Trophic mutualism is exemplified in lichens, which consist of fungi and either algae or cyanobacteria.
The fungi's partners provide sugar from photosynthesis and the fungi provide nutrients from digesting rock. Defensive mutualism is when one organism provides protection from predators while the other provides food or shelter: Interspecific competition is when different animals that live in the same geographic area sympatric species compete for the same set of resources, mostly food and space.
Direct competition occurs when individuals compete with each other directly for the same resource, ie: Interference competition is when there is a deliberate displacement of individuals by their competitor. The less competitive individuals are forced to go elsewhere to find resources. Studies have shown, however, that if the more competitive animals leave, the displaced individuals will return. Exploitation competition is more subtle.
Forces of Competition Defensive Behavior When an animal has found a space that contains all the resources it needs to survive, it wants to hold on to it. This is why many animals are territorial; they defend their territory which contains those resources. Animals defend territories for many different types of resources: Animals advertise their ownership of these territories by visual and chemical signals that deter their competitors from encroaching on their turf.
If these signals are ignored, and the boundaries of the territory are breached, a territorial battle is sure to ensue.
Competition - Untamed Science
Aggressive Behavior Animals exhibit aggressive behavior when one of their resources is compromised. Males may compete over an existing territory, available females, nesting sites, or breeding rights in a social hierarchy. In most cases, animals would prefer to avoid antagonistic encounters because it requires a huge expenditure of energy to participate in an aggressive interaction, but the resources they are aiming to protect are vital enough that they are willing to risk it if necessary.
They need adequate sunlight, soil nutrients, and fresh water to survive.
Though they are stationary, they still have ways of combating each other. Over time plants have evolved ingenious ways of procuring sunlight, attracting pollinators, and obtaining fresh water. They may take an offensive approach, responding to the competition head-on, or a defensive approach, making modifications to increase their chances of survival and reproduction.
- Symbiotic relationships
- Competition & Predation
- Oppositional relationships
For example, when sunlight is the limiting factor, some forest trees grow rapidly to tower over their competitors and absorb the most sunlight, others channel their energy into producing many seeds and attempting to spread them so that they increase the chances of their offspring landing in a well-lit area.
Plants have developed all kinds of competitive strategies from storing nutrients to becoming parasites to developing disease resistance. How to Avoid Competition- Isolate Yourself Nature is am amazing beast; it has mechanisms in place to allow species to exist in the same place at the same time using the similar resources.
This is the beauty of niche separation and is the answer to the competitive exclusion principle. Different species have different life requirements, eat different foods, live in different habitats, and behave differently, all in the name of sharing resources.
Sometimes, however, there is just no way around it, organisms have to share the same resources, and in this instance, nature has the uncanny ability to adapt. Geographic Isolation One method of isolation is geographic isolation- not being in the same place at the same time. Animals that are geographically separated have a better chance of obtaining the resources they need.
This isolation can occur through animals having different geographic distributions or by participating in seasonal migrations. Geographic separators might be an expanse of land, a mountain range, a body of water, or an elevation gradient.
Behavioral Isolation This occurs when animals have contradictory behaviors that prevent them from competing with each other.
For example, by day, birds rule the air. They forage, maintain territories, reproduce, and compete with each other for the best available resources. By night, however, bats rule the roost. Come dusk there is a taxonomic tango when the diurnal active by day organisms retire for the evening and the nocturnal active by night organisms commence their daily follies.
By the cover of night nocturnal organisms avoid competitive interactions with their diurnal counterparts. In some ecosystems, the nightly taxonomic exchange is quite the spectacle.
Certain night-blooming flowers open their blossoms to be pollinated by bats. Insects emerge to forage after spending the day avoiding hungry birds. Foraging habits are another way that organisms can avert competing with each other. Take raptors for example. A red-tailed hawk is a generalist predator; they eat anything from rodents to reptiles to other birds.
They are good competitors with other birds of prey because they consume a wide variety of prey so their options are many. Specialist predators, however, like the osprey, which eats strictly fish, are limited in their prey selection as well as their geographic range because they have to live in areas where their prey resides.
Take two similar animals then that inhabit the same geographic area and eat the same type of food…what then? Herbivorous rhinos deal with this conundrum by consuming different parts of plants. White rhinos have flat, wide lips for grazing grasses while black rhinos have pointed, dexterous lips for browsing shrubs. Mechanical Isolation The lip morphology of rhinos is an evolutionary expression of a behavioral trait that separated rhinos long ago.
Today there are many animals that have morphological differences that directly allow them to avoid competition with other organisms. Sometimes isolation mechanisms influence each other, adding another impediment to competition. Organisms that have been geographically separated for long periods of time can evolve morphological and behavioral changes that prevent them from breeding with each other. All these methods of isolation are changes that have occurred over many generations.
Organisms have evolved over time to avoid competition and the changes have become incorporated in their life histories. The most awesome thing about evolution is that it never stops! As the environment changes and new stressors are added to an ecosystem, that pressure influences organisms to change, thus making them better competitors. Competition plays a very important role in ecology and evolution.
The best competitors are the ones who survive and get to pass on their genes.