Location and foraging as basis for classification of biotic interactions
Ecologists face an overwhelming diversity of ecological relationships in natural communities. In this paper, I propose to differentiate various types of the interspecific relations on the basis of two factors: relative localization and foraging activity of interacting partners. I advocate recognition of four types of environments: internal, surface, proximate external and distant external. Then I distinguish four types of synoikia—one partner lives in different degree of proximity to another; and four types of synmensalism: one partner forages in different degree of proximity to another. Intersection of localization-based (four subtypes of synoikia) and foraging-based (four subtypes of synmensalism) rows results in 16 types of interactions. This scheme can serve as a framework that manages diverse biotic interactions in a standardized way. I have made the first step to set up nomenclature standards for terms describing interspecific interactions and hope that this will facilitate research and communication.
KeywordsInterspecific interactions Synoikia Synmensalism Theoretical scheme
The author received no personal or institutional funding for this work.
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