Glossary

carrying capacity
The maximum population size that can be supported by the available resources, symbolized as K.

competitive exclusion principle
The concept that when the populations of two species compete for the same limited resources, one population will use the resources more efficiently and have a reproductive advantage that will eventually lead to the elimination of the other population.

disturbances
In an ecological sense, a force that changes a biological community and usually removes organisms from it. Disturbances, such as fire and storms, play pivotal roles in structuring many biological communities.

ecology
The study of how organisms interact with their environments.

ecosystem
A level of ecological study that includes all the organisms in a given area as well as the abiotic factors with which they interact; a community and its physical environment.

interspecific competition
A contest between individuals of two populations that require a limited resource; may inhibit population growth and help structure communities.

intraspecific competition
A contest between individuals in the same population that require a limited resource; may inhibit population growth.

population
A group of individuals of one species that live in a particular geographic area.

predation
An interaction between species in which one species, the predator, eats the other, the prey.