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Definition: competition from Processing Water, Wastewater, Residuals, and Excreta for Health and Environmental Protection: An Encyclopedic Dictionary

The struggle among organisms for water, food, space, and other vital requirements, when supply is limited.

Summary Article: competition
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

In ecology, the interaction between two or more organisms, or groups of organisms, that use a common resource in short supply. There can be competition between members of the same species and competition between members of different species. Competition invariably results in a reduction in the numbers of one or both competitors, and in evolution contributes both to the decline of certain species and to the evolution of adaptations.

The resources in short supply for which organisms compete may be obvious things, such as mineral salts for animals and plants, or light for plants. However, there are less obvious resources. For example, competition for suitable nesting sites is important in some species of birds. Competition results in a reduction in breeding success for one or other organism(s). Because of this it is one of the most important aspects of natural selection, which may result in evolutionary change if the environment is changing. Competition also results in the distribution of organisms we see in habitats. It is believed that organisms tend to occur where the pressures of competition are not as great as in other areas. In agriculture cultivation methods are designed to reduce competition. For example, a crop of wheat is sown at a density that minimizes competition within the same species. The plants are grown far enough apart to reduce competition between the roots of neighbouring wheat plants for soil mineral nutrients. The spraying of the ground to kill weeds reduces competition between the wheat and weed plants. Some weeds would grow taller than the wheat and deprive it of light.


Habitat, population and community

Predation and competition

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