Difference Between Fundamental and Realized Niche (With Table)

The term fundamental and realized talk about the condition in which animal live, but there are lot of other thing that proof that they are very different from each other.

Fundamental vs Realized Niche

The difference between fundamental and realized niche is that the fundamental niche is considered an entire set through which an animal can reproduce and live itself. On the other hand, a realized niche is a set of condition mainly used by the animal after interacting with other species, which have been taken into account. 

The term fundamental niche is defined as the fullest of the condition through which an animal population species can reproduce and survive. It is a set of conditions mainly used by pop species after being interacted with by other species (competition and predation), which have been taken into account. One example of a fundamental niche is the sparrow in the forest.

The term realized niche is considered to be smaller or limited than the fundamental niche. Some examples like: once an invasive species is being introduced in the ecosystem, they will always compete with an existing species so that they can get space, food, and other resources. So, the realized niche of an existing species can change and may vary from the fundamental niche.

Comparison Between Fundamental Niche and Realized Niche

Parameter of ComparisonFundamental nicheRealized niche
MeaningThe term fundamental niche is defined as an entire set of conditions through which an animal can live and reproduce.The term realized niche is a set of conditions mainly used by the animal after interacting with other species.
WideThe fundamental niche is considered to be a larger niche than the realized niche.
Realized niche is considered to be a subset of fundamental niche.
NatureThe fundamental niche has a natural habitat. Realized niche consider to have various factor human actives, availability of its natural food resources, and presence of a predator.
Species live inSpecies do not live in a fundamental niche.
Species generally live in the realized niche.
AdaptionSpecies rarely found a fundamental niche for adaptation.Species are well adapted to the realized niches as they get realized niches very often.
Ecology partA fundamental niche describes the ecology part of the species.Realized niche describes the ecology part which species do.

What is Fundamental Niche?

The fundamental niche is defined as different species’ positions in the ecosystem or environmental condition. The fundamental niche is referred to as the span of the environmental condition where all species survive.

It elaborates on the role of the species in the environment. It also refers to a span of conditions, resources with which animals grow, survive, and reproduce, and roles. This fundamental niche tells the experience of the species and how it handles a particular condition. It is the full span of environmental condition which a group of species can use and occupy.

It is considered to be a larger niche than the realized niche. The realized niche can be considered as a subset of the fundamental niche.

It is also referred to as the potential niche that could affect each species’ life traits and every organism- how they talk to another species and how they bear different environmental conditions.

What is Realized Niche?

The term realized niche is defined as the range in the environment condition in that all groups of species live. The realized niche elaborates on what the animal does in the ecosystem. It grows, and it is a subset of a fundamental niche.

It is to believe that when species come to interact with other species and get pressured from the other species, then the realized niche is formed. In realized niche animal is well adopted, and thus species are well adopted in this niche. 

Whether it is the lion or the bacteria, every species has to face competition from the other species. It is difficult when it is a direct form of competition. If a hyenas competition lion moves in, then it will concerned hyenas. It is a direct form of competition in an ecological niche that is called interspecific competition. The actual niche which is filled in the interspecific competition is called the realized niche.

Main Differences Between Fundamental Niche and Realized Niche

  1. Both fundamental niche and realized niche expresses what is the condition of the environment or position of different species in the ecosystem.
  2. The term fundamental niche is defined as an entire set of conditions through which an animal can live and reproduce. On the other hand, a realized niche is a set of conditions mainly used by the animal after interacting with other species.
  3. The fundamental niche is also called a pre-competitive niche. On the other hand, the realized niche is also posting a competitive niche.
  4. A fundamental niche is a type of theoretical niche. On the other hand, the realized niche is the range where species live.
  5. In the fundamental niche, there is no competition for the resources or predators. On the other hand, a realized niche is a range where competition occurs for both resources and predators.
  6. The fundamental niche is generally large or wide in size. On the other hand, the realized niche is generally smaller in size.

Conclusion

As the primary difference between the fundamental niche and realized niche has been told, it will help understand their meaning and function. As the above difference between the term fundamental niche and realized niche had been told, so it is clear that both are not the same.

Realized niche is the subset of fundamental niche, and it is being mentioned that fundamental niche is larger than the realized niche. We can tell that these are part of each other, but these are very much different from each other.

References

  1. Realized versus fundamental niche functions in a model of chaparral response to climatic change
  2. Realized and potential climate niches: a comparison of four Rhododendron tree species
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