What is indirect competition?


Indirect competition occurs when members of one species use up a resource, making it less available or completely unavailable to members of another species. This is in contrast to direct competition, a term that refers to instances in which two members physically fight for a resource. Indirect competition can occur between members of the same species or between members of different species.

An example of indirect competition is as follows. There are a limited number of nesting sites in the crooks of trees. Birds in species A begin building their nests in March, which limits the number of nesting sites available when species B begins building nests in April. As a result of indirect competitions like this example, one or both species may be limited in its ability to reproduce. In this way, indirect competition is important for controlling population numbers. This type of competition is most likely to occur between species with similar needs and those who occupy the same or similar environmental niche.

Indirect competition is one of eight main ways in which organisms interact with one another. Of these eight manners of interaction, it is the only one which has a negative impact on both species involved. Other types of interaction, which include mutualism, parasitism and predation, benefit one or both species.

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