Ecological Species Concept

∞ generated and posted on 2016.12.13 ∞

Distinguishing among different types of organisms in terms of degrees of niche overlap.

The Ecological Species Concept is, not surprisingly, based on a species ecology. The more two species' ecologies overlap, the less likely that they are two species rather than just a single species.

According to the ecological species concept, the more similar two organisms are then the more likely that their needs will overlap, the more likely they will compete over resources such as food and shelter, and therefore the more likely that they are members of the same species. Not surprisingly, the ecological species concept thus is defined particularly in terms of the ecology of organisms.

As with species concepts in general, the ecological species concept is far from perfect. Concerns include that organisms often do not occupy the same ecological niche even over a single lifespan, that it is not necessarily trivial to determine the degree to which competition for resources might be occurring between two organisms as found within natural environments, and the problem of reconciling differences seen between the perspectives of lumpers and splitters.

See by contrast biological species concept.