By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Discuss the predator-prey cycle
- Give examples of defenses against predation and herbivory
- Describe the competitive exclusion principle
- Give examples of symbiotic relationships between species
- Describe community structure and succession
In general, populations of one species never live in isolation from populations of other species. The interacting populations occupying a given habitat form an ecological community. The number of species occupying the same habitat and their relative abundance is known as the diversity of the community. Areas with low species diversity, such as the glaciers of Antarctica, still contain a wide variety of living organisms, whereas the diversity of tropical rainforests is so great that it cannot be accurately assessed. Scientists study ecology at the community level to understand how species interact with each other and compete for the same resources.