Competition - Biology and Ecology

Biology and Ecology

Competition within, between, and among species is one of the most important forces in biology, especially in the field of ecology. Competition between members of a species ("intraspecific") for resources such as food, water, territory, and sunlight may result in an increase in the frequency of a variant of the species best suited for survival and reproduction until its fixation within a population. Competition is also present between species ("interspecific"). When resources are limited, several species may depend on these resources. Thus, each of the species competes with the others to gain access to the resources. As a result, species less suited to compete for the resources may die out unless they adapt by character dislocation, for instance. According to evolutionary theory, this competition within and between species for resources plays a significant role in natural selection. At shorter time scales, competition is also one of the most important factors controlling diversity in ecological communities, particularly in plant communities where asymmetric competition and competitive dominance frequently occur.

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