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By Tony Duff

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All communities comprise a diversity of species: a diversity of matches to the local environment. Environmental heterogeneity, interactions between predators and prey, parasites and hosts and mutualists, and the coexistence of similar species all contribute to this. 1 Introduction In order to understand the distribution and abundance of a species we need to know its history (Chapter 1), the resources it requires (Chapter 3), the individuals’ rates of birth, death and migration (Chapters 4 and 6), their interactions with their own and other species (Chapters 5 and 8–13) and the effects of environmental conditions.

The former describes the overall potentialities of a species; the latter describes the more limited spectrum of conditions and resources that allow it to persist, even in the presence of competitors and predators. Fundamental and realized niches will receive more attention in Chapter 8, when we look at interspecific competition. The remainder of this chapter looks at some of the most important condition dimensions of species’ niches, starting with temperature; the following chapter examines resources, which add further dimensions of their own.

A parasitic worm in the gut of a mammal, a fungal mycelium in the soil and a sponge in the sea acquire the temperature of the medium in which they live. 6 Schematic diagram of the avenues of heat exchange between an ectotherm and a variety of physical aspects of its environment. 6). Various fixed properties may ensure that body temperatures are higher (or lower) than the ambient temperatures. For example, the reflective, shiny or silvery leaves of many desert plants reflect radiation that might otherwise heat the leaves.

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A Guide to the Kalachakra Empowerment by Tony Duff

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