Positive interactions in ecology: filling the fundamental niche

  • Rodriguez-Cabal M
  • Barrios-Garcia M
  • Nunez M
Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


The role of negative interactions in shaping ecological communities and the realized niches of species has been a focus of considerable research for at least decades. Traditionally, the discrepancy between the size of the fundamental and realized niches of a species was attrib-uted to the effect of negative interactions, such that the realized niche is always smaller than the fundamental niche. However, in the last decade, a series of studies have highlighted the important role that positive inter-actions played in shaping the structure of communities. This renewed interest in positive interactions has led to a reconsideration of the niche concept. Specifically, some investigators have suggested that positive interact-ions can lead the realized niche of a species to be larger than its fundamental niche. Here, we show that, although positive interactions can counteract the effects of negative interactions and possibly modify the realized niche of a species, the realized niche of a species can never be larger than the fundamental niche.




Rodriguez-Cabal, M. A., Barrios-Garcia, M. N., & Nunez, M. A. (2012). Positive interactions in ecology: filling the fundamental niche. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.4033/iee.2012.5.9.c

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free