The division of environmental resources by coexisting species populations such that the niche of each species differs by one or more significant factors from the niches of all coexisting species populations. respiration respirare, to breathe] (1) In aerobic organisms, the intake of oxygen and the liberation of carbon dioxide. (2) In cells, the oxygen-requiring stage in the breakdown and release of energy from fuel molecules.
The division of resources such that a few dominant species exploit most of the available resources while other species divide the remainder; helps explain why a few species are abundant in a community while others are represented by only a few individuals.
Process of dividing up resources in an ecosystem so species with similar needs (overlapping ecological niches) use the same scarce resources at different times, in different ways, or in different places. See ecological niche, fundamental niche, realized niche.