Skip to main content

competitive-exclusion principle

competitive-exclusion principle (exclusion principle, Gause principle) The principle that no two species will occupy the same ecological niche; i.e. two or more resource-limited species, having identical patterns of resource use, cannot coexist in a stable environment because one species will be better adapted and will out-compete or otherwise eliminate the others. The concept was derived mathematically from the logistic equation by Lotka and Volterra, working independently, and was first demonstrated experimentally by G. F. Gause in 1934 using two closely related species of Paramecium. When grown separately, both species populations showed normal S-shaped growth curves; when grown together, one species was eliminated.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"competitive-exclusion principle." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"competitive-exclusion principle." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/competitive-exclusion-principle-1

"competitive-exclusion principle." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved October 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/competitive-exclusion-principle-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.