How Individualized Niches Arise: Defining Mechanisms of Niche Construction, Niche Choice, and Niche Conformance

Rose Trappes, Behzad Nematipour, Marie I. Kaiser, Ulrich Krohs, Koen van Benthem, Ulrich Ernst, Jürgen Gadau, Peter Korsten, Joachim Kurtz, Holger Schielzeth, Tim Schmoll, Elina Takola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
81 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Organisms interact with their environments in various ways. We present a conceptual framework that distinguishes three mechanisms of organism–environment interaction. We call these NC3 mechanisms: niche construction, in which individuals make changes to the environment; niche choice, in which individuals select an environment; and niche conformance, in which individuals adjust their phenotypes in response to the environment. Each of these individual-level mechanisms affects an individual's phenotype–environment match, its fitness, and its individualized niche, defined in terms of the environmental conditions under which the individual can survive and reproduce. Our framework identifies how individuals alter the selective regimes that they and other organisms experience. It also places clear emphasis on individual differences and construes niche construction and other processes as evolved mechanisms. The NC3 mechanism framework therefore helps to integrate population-level and individual-level research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-548
Number of pages11
JournalBioScience
Volume72
Issue number6
Early online date11 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • habitat choice
  • individual differences
  • individualized niche
  • niche construction
  • phenotypic plasticity

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