Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Niche

1. a multidimensional space that supplies the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species; a microhabitat.

2. the ecologic role of an organism in a community, especially in regard to food consumption; see ecological niche. Variables defining a habitat include the ambient temperature, humidity, food, and other environmental requisites necessary for a species to exist and to reproduce. The fundamental niche for any species is the set of resources a species is capable of utilizing, the pre-ferred niche is the one in which the species performs best, and the realized niche is the one in which it actually exists, in a particular environment.

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