Intro Ecology Essay

755 words - 4 pages

Introduction:
Competition is a mutually undesirable interaction, be it within the same or different species. It is a major ecological force and transpires naturally amongst sympatric organisms and arises due to a scarcity in resources that organisms need in order to subsist and reproduce (Miller 1995, Cartar et al. 2014). It is this scarcity of resources that ultimately becomes a selective factor that dictates the survival of a species. Conversely, a surplus of resources affords an opposite effect- competition does not occur. Competition for resources within a species is called intraspecific competition, whereas competition between distinct species is referred to as interspecific ...view middle of the document...

When exposed to such competition, individuals experience a trade-off between reproduction and growth- a consequence of the competition for the limited resources available (Kleunen et al. 2001, Cartar et al. 2014).
It is the ratio of different plant species planted in a minimal area that results in competition amongst the species for space. The plant density (total number of plants) remains the same; however, the ratio of each plant species is changed. To determine whether intraspecific or interspecific competition is stronger the individual biomass of each species will be compared against a control consisting of a monoculture with only one species planted per culture.
When it comes to intraspecific competition, increasing density will result in a reduction in the level of fitness for individual plants. Therefore, keeping all the other variables constant it can be predicted that the individual biomass will increase and the average # of seeds produced and the average weight of the seeds would also increase. However, the population biomass will decrease. Intraspecific competition in these plants plays an important role as it affects transmutations in both growth and reproductive allocation (Kleunen et al. 2001). Therefore, plants better adapted to obtain resources will have the ability to out-compete other plants.
For interspecific competition (i.e. competition between Brassica rapa and marigold, Tagetes patula), it is hypothesized that, as the density...

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