Is resource partitioning a type of character displacement?

Is resource partitioning a type of character displacement?

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Imagine two related species. They prey on the same species but avoid competition by feeding at different times of the day. Is this a type of character displacement?


On one hand I have the Galapagos Finch example, which is typically used to illustrate character displacement. But since resource partitioning is more behavioral than anatomical, is resource partitioning a subset of character displacement or a rough overlap or none?

Does it look like character displacement?

By the fact that these two species feed at different moment of the day, they therefore have slightly different ecological niches. It is indeed the type of consequences brought about by character displacement. Yes, it looks like character displacement.

"Resource partitioning" is not necessarily more behavioural than anatomical and even if it was, a behaviour is a phenotype, just like any other phenotype, and it should not be disregarded. The character being displaced in a 'character displacement' scenario can be behavioural. So, yes if two species evolve to prey at different time of the day to avoid competition, then they have evolved so as to reduce the overlap between their ecological niche and we can call that character displacement.

Is it character displacement (highlight on a few missing information)?

It is possible (likely) that they evolved to feed at different times as a reaction of their competition and hence it would be called "character displacement" but technically speaking the question does not explain how these two species had been diverging in their feeding. It is possible that divergence in their feeding time happened long before being found in sympatry. In fact, the question does not even make clear that the two species are found in sympatry.

Character displacement and niche shift analyzed using consumer-resource models of competition

This paper analyzes the adaptive responses to competition (both character displacement and niche shift) in a two consumer-two resource model. The model includes density dependence that is unrelated to the resources that are explicit in the model. This could be due to another resource dimension, parasites, or interference competition. Competitors adapt by changing their relative consumption rate constants on the two resource types. This model can result in mutually divergent, parallel, or mutually convergent displacement of competitors. Parallel displacement may entail net divergence, net convergence, or no net change. Parallel change with net convergence is most likely when the competitors have similar constraints on the possible values of consumption rate constants, unequal allopatric abundances, and significant intraspecific density dependence. Numerical calculations of displacements are presented for several models and the effect of a number of different possible alterations of the model are discussed. The evolution of resource handling and processing efficiency, and displacement in the presence of additional selective pressures on the character are considered in detail. The results have implications for questions about maximization of population size, the relationship of character displacement and the competition coefficient, and “null” models in the study of competition. Differences between this and previous theoretical works are discussed. It is argued that conditions allowing parallel or convergent displacement are not biologically unlikely, and possible examples are discussed. Data on resource partitioning seem to be more consistent with the results reached here than with previous theory.


This paper investigates the coevolutionary dynamics of the phenotypic plasticity in the context of overlap avoidance behaviors of shared niches in sympatric species. Especially, we consider whether and how a differentiation of phenotypic plasticity can emerge under the assumption that there are no initial asymmetric relationships among coevolving species. We construct a minimal model where several different species participate in a partitioning of their shared niches, and evolve their behavioral plasticity to avoid an overlap of their niche use. By conducting evolutionary experiments with various conditions of the number of species and niches, we show that the two different types of asymmetric distributions of phenotypic plasticity emerge depending on the settings of the degree of congestion of the shared niches. In both cases, all species tended to obtain the similar amount of fitness regardless of such differences in their plasticity. We also show that the emerged distributions are coevolutionarily stable in general.

Predation, Parasitism, and Herbivory are detrimental to one species while beneficial to the other

Another class of interspecific interactions has a negative impact on one species while providing benefits to the other: predation, parasitism, and herbivory.

Predation, or predator-prey interactions, involve one species consuming (eating) the other- a clear win-lose scenario. Another win-lose scenario is parasitism, or parasite-host interaction, where a species (the parasite) lives on or in another species (the host) that it harms over time, sometimes resulting in host death. Parasitism is a win for parasite and a loss for the host. Herbivory is similar to predation in the sense that a grazer eats a plant. However, some grazing interactions can be argued to provide a benefit because grazing can promote the growth of new plant material. To determine if an herbivore-plant interaction is a win-lose, the cost and benefit to the plant would need to be measured.

Electronic supplementary material is available online at

Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


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Habitat partitioning during character displacement between the sexes

Ecological differences between the sexes are often interpreted as evidence of within-species ecological character displacement (ECD), a hypothesis with almost no direct tests. Here, we experimentally test two predictions that are direct corollaries of ECD between the sexes, in a salamander. First, we find support for the prediction that each sex has a growth rate advantage in the aquatic microhabitat where it is most commonly found. Second, we test the prediction that selection for ECD in the breeding environment may affect partial migration out of this environment. We found that phenotype-dependent migration resulted in a shift in the phenotypic distribution across treatments, with the highest sexual dimorphism occurring among residents at high founding density, suggesting that migration and ECD can both be driven by competition. Our work illustrates how complex patterns of habitat partitioning evolve during ECD between the sexes and suggest ECD and partial migration can interact to effect both ecological dynamics and evolution of sexual dimorphism.

Keywords: partial migration phenotypic plasticity resource competition sexual dimorphism.

Conflict of interest statement

We declare we have no competing interests.


Growth rates and dorsal coloration…

Growth rates and dorsal coloration of adult male and female newts in simulated…

Treatment effects on phenotype-dependent migration.…

Treatment effects on phenotype-dependent migration. ( a ) Density had a significant multivariate…

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Resource competition, character displacement, and the evolution of deep corolla tubes

It is normally thought that deep corolla tubes evolve when the plant's successful reproduction is contingent on having a corolla tube longer than the tongue of the flower's pollinators. Combining optimal foraging theory and quantitative genetics in a spatially explicit, individual-based model, we show that flowers with long corolla tubes can alternatively evolve because they promote resource partitioning among nectar feeders and increase the probability of conspecific pollen transfer. When there is competition for resources, long-tongued flower visitors feed preferentially at deep flowers and short-tongued visitors at shallow flowers. Both plant species thus benefit when the depths of their corollas are so different that each flower visitor specializes on one species. Resource competition can promote the evolution of deep corollas despite the presence of significant amounts of noise, such as deviations from optimal foraging behavior due to perceptual errors or temporal fluctuations in the relative abundance of competing pollinator species. Our results can explain the evolution of long corollas in a number of systems that do not conform to the traditional view.

Meaning and definition of resource partitioning :

The division of environmental resources by coexisting species such that the niche of each species differs by one or more significant factors from the niches of all coexisting species.

For the term resource partitioning may also exist other definitions and meanings, the meaning and definition indicated above are indicative not be used for medical and legal or special purposes.

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Google key word : resource partitioning

Glossary of biology terms

Resource Partitioning

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Who gave the concept of resource partitioning?

Further detail about this can be seen here. Subsequently, one may also ask, what causes resource partitioning?

The original concept of resource partitioning refers to the evolutionary adaptations in species as a response to the evolutionary pressure from interspecific competition. When species compete for the exact same resources, one species typically has the advantage over another, even if only slightly so.

Also Know, what is the benefit of resource partitioning? Resource Partitioning and Why It Matters. Similar species commonly use limiting resources in different ways. Such resource partitioning helps to explain how seemingly similar species can coexist in the same ecological community without one pushing the others to extinction through competition.

Similarly, what is resource partitioning?

When species divide a niche to avoid competition for resources, it is called resource partitioning. Sometimes the competition is between species, called interspecific competition, and sometimes it's between individuals of the same species, or intraspecific competition.

Watch the video: Resource partitioning (June 2022).