What is the shape of the fundamental Grinnellian niche?
Since it was defined by Hutchinson, in 1957, the fundamental niche has been assumed, implicitly or explicitly, to have some convex shape. This assumption requires some critical analysis. In this work, we examine the special case of Grinnellian niches (those composed by sets of points of non-interactive variables in multidimensional spaces). We show that annual species in seasonal environments are likely to have very non-convex shapes, and be composed not of sets of points, but of sets of trajectories. We also examine under what circumstances trajectories may be approximated using sets of points. It appears to be the case that the breadth of requirements at each stage in the life history is a key parameter. We conclude by comparing the situation with perennial species.
KeywordsFundamental niche Existing niche Realized niche Life history Seasonal environments
The authors are grateful to the members of the University of Kansas Ecological Niche Modeling seminar, for many fruitful discussions, and to Oliver Broennimann and Robert Holt for helpful comments on the manuscript. We are also grateful to our colleague, Blitzi Soberon, and to our wives Tita (JS) and Rosi (TP), for the patience they show to us when we work at home, or during holidays and weekends.
JS received partial support from the ABI NSF grant no. 1458640.
- Brown JH (1995) Macroecology. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- Caswell H (2001) Matrix population models. Sinauer Associates, Inc, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
- Chapman A (2005a) Principles and methods of data cleaning-primary species and species-occurrence data. Global Biodiversity Information Facility, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
- Chapman AD (2005b) Uses of primary species-occurrence data. Global Biodiversity Information Facility, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
- Cohen JE (1978) Food webs and niche space. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
- Franklin J (2009) Mapping species distributions: spatial inference and prediction. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Holt RD, Gomulkiewicz R (1997) The evolution of species niches: a populations dynamic perspective. In: Othmer HG, Adler FR, Lewis MA, Dillon J (eds) Case studies in mathematical modelling: ecology. Physiology and Cell Biology. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, pp 25–50Google Scholar
- Hutchinson GE (1978) An introduction to population ecology. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
- Nix, H. A. 1986. A biogeographic analysis of Australian elapid snakes.in R. Longmore, editor. Atlas of Elapid Snakes of Australia. Australian Government Publishing Service, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- Soberón J, Peterson AT (2011) Ecological shifts and environmental space anisotropy: a cautionary note. Rev Mex Biodiversidad 82:1348–1355Google Scholar