Community (ecology)

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In ecology, a community is an assemblage of populations of different species, interacting with one another.

The term is used in various ways with slight differences in meaning. Sometimes it is limited to specific places, times, or subsets of organisms. For example, "the fish community of Lake Ontario before industrialization".

Another usage difference is whether a community is defined based on evolutionary taxonomy and biogeography, or based on function and behavior regardless of genetic relationships. For example, a plant community of the first type might be called "oak-hickory forests", while one of the second type might be called "temperate deciduous forests". The first sense of the term "community" is related to broad concepts such as ecozones and floristic provinces (such as the Neotropic ecozone or the Cape floristic region), while the second sense is related to biomes (such as the Temperate coniferous forests) (Akin, pp. 168-169).

See also


  • Akin, Wallace E. (1991). Global Patterns: Climate, Vegetation, and Soils. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2309-5.
  • Ricketts, Taylor H., Eric Dinerstein, David M. Olson, Colby J. Loucks et al. (WWF) (1999). Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: a conservation assessment. Island Press. ISBN 1-55963-722-6.

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