The ecological niche and the n-dimensional hypervolume

Natural curiosities

I want to share a story about how a new idea can originate in a chance hallway conversation. The story is about ecological niches.

When you think about a niche, you might imagine something like you see here in the city of Samarkand: the Mirza-Uluk-Bek in the Registan (one of the first color photographs).


The ecological niche is something different, but draws on the metaphor of a recessed space that can hold something. The concept was primarily popularized by G.E. Hutchinson in the late 1950s, and used to describe species. For him, a niche is

An area is thus defined, each point of which corresponds to a possible environmental state… an n-dimensional hypervolume is defined, every point in which corresponds to a state of the environment which would permit the species.. to exist indefinitely.

This reasonable concept makes intuitive sense: for some set of variables that are important to…

View original post 731 more words


About dmf

alienist @ large, mostly on foot
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s