the evolution of a predatory organism to resemble a harmless animal or a part of the environment, thus gaining access to prey.
a terrestrial ecosystem that occupies an extensive geographic area and is characterized by a specific type of plant community; for example, deserts.
coloration and/or shape that renders an organism inconspicuous in its environment.
literally, "meat eater"; a predatory organism that feeds on herbivores or on other carnivores; a secondary (or higher) consumer.
a diverse and relatively stable community that forms the endpoint of succession.
the evolution of adaptations in two species due to their extensive interactions with one another, such that each species acts as a major force of natural selection on the other.
all the interacting populations within an ecosystem.
interaction among individuals who attempt to utilize a resource (for example, food or space) that is limited relative to the demand for that resource.
competitive exclusion principle
any event that disrupts an ecosystem by altering its community, its abiotic structure, or both; disturbance precedes succession.
the role of a particular species within an ecosystem, including all aspects of its interaction with the living and nonliving environments.
ecological niche (nitch)
literally, "plant-eater"; an organism that feeds directly and exclusively on producers; a primary consumer.
the prey organism on or in which a parasite lives; the host is harmed by the relationship.
competition among individuals of different species.
an area of the ocean shore that is alternately covered and uncovered by the tides.
competition among individuals of the same species.
organisms that are introduced (deliberately or accidentally) into ecosystems where they did not evolve, and where they encounter little environmental resistance and tend to displace native species.
a species whose influence on community structure is greater than its abundance would suggest.
the situation in which a species has evolved to resemble something else, typically another type of organism.
a symbiotic relationship in which both participating species benefit.
an organism that lives in or on a larger organism (its host), harming the host but usually not killing it immediately.
an organism that is among the first to colonize an unoccupied habitat in the first stages of succession.
an organism that eats other organisms.
succession that occurs in an environment, such as bare rock, in which no trace of a previous community is present.
the coexistence of two species with similar requirements, each occupying a smaller niche than either would if it were by itself; a means of minimizing the species’ competitive interactions.
succession that occurs after an existing community is disturbed—for example, after a forest fire; secondary succession is much more rapid than primary succession.
a form of mimicry in which a color pattern (in many cases resembling large eyes) can be displayed suddenly by a prey organism when approached by a predator.
a community in which succession is stopped before the climax community is reached; it is maintained by regular disturbance—for example, a tallgrass prairie maintained by periodic fires.
a structural change in a community and its nonliving environment over time. During succession, species replace one another in a somewhat predictable manner until a stable, self-sustaining climax community is reached.
bright coloration that warns predators that the potential prey is distasteful or even poisonous.