The Role of Competition and Predation in Ecology

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Competition and predation are two key factors that affect the stability of an ecosystem, such as a lake. There are three theories on the affects of competition. Competition may lead to competitive exclusion, stable coexistence, or niche differentiation. It has been shown that in marine environments, species are strong competitors for both light and nutrients and thus competition leads only to competitive exclusion (Passarge et al. 2006). The competitive exclusion principle states that if two species compete for the same resource in the same location, then one of those species will go extinct because one species will be the better competitor (Jenson 2010). Another factor in ecosystem diversity is predation. The predator and prey relationship is a complicated one. Populations go through cycles of high abundance and low abundance. Many data seem to indicate that predators are able to reduce prey populations in density-dependent situations (Freeman 2008). One example of this is the study of the snowshoe hair and the lynx. This study proved that the hair populations and the lynx...
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