Habitat vs. Niche: What's the Difference?

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Key Difference

The key difference between habitat and niche is that the habitat is that particular space in the environment in which an organism lives while niche is the role of an organism in the environment.

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Habitat vs. Niche

Every organism of this universe has a specific role to play in this ecosystem. Every organism has a specific place to live, specific function to perform and specific ways to reproduce. Ecology is the branch of biology that deals with the study of the relationship of living organisms to their environment. To study about the ecology, we should know its two basic terms, i.e. habitat and niche. There is a clear line of difference between habitat and niche. Habitat is the place in the environment where an organism lives while niche is the role that an organism plays in its environment. Habitat is the area in the ecosystem where the organism finds its food, shelter and breed etc. while niche is how an individual finds its food and how it utilizes his available resources etc. Habitat may support a number of species whereas niche supports only a single species.

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Comparison Chart

BasisHabitatNiche
DefinitionThe place in the environment in which an organism lives is called its habitat.The role of an organism in its environment is called niche.
EffectHabitat deals with the effect of the environment on the organism.Niche deals with the effect of an individual on the organism.
ChangeA species does not change its habitat.A species may live in the different type of niches in its different life stages.
SupportHabitat supports different species.Niche supports a single species.
FunctionIt is the zone in the environment that provides the food, shelter, protection and mates for reproduction to the organism.It includes the interaction of the organism with living and non-living components of the environment.
Consist ofHabitat consists of multiple niches.Niches do not contain any components.
NatureIt is a physical place.It is an activity performed by a living organism.
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What is Habitat?

Habitat is derived from a Latin word which means “it inhabits”.A habitat is an ecological area where a particular species of plants, animals or other type of organisms are living. This term actually refers to the zone in which an organism find food, shelter, mates for reproduction and protection etc. Every organism has its specific habitat. It varies from organism to organism according to their daily requirements. Some organisms may survive in flexible habitat while others have a very specific habitat. They cannot survive without their specific habitat. So, its mean that habitat may support multiple species. Nowadays habitat destruction is a great problem. Human beings are destroying the habitat of different plants and animals for their own welfare.

What is a Niche?

Niche is derived from the Latin word “nidus” meaning “nest”. Niche in an ecological term that describes the role of a species or organism in its environment. It describes that how an organism responds to the available resources and their competitors in the environment. A niche encompasses what an organism eats and how it interacts with the biotic(other living organisms) and abiotic(climate and weather etc.) components of the environment. It is the effect of an organism on its environment. Every species has its specific niche, but it may have a different type of niche in its different stages of life.

Key Differences

  1. Habitat is that space in an environment where an organism lives while niche is the role of a species in its environment.
  2. Habitat is the zone where an individual finds its food, shelter, protection and its mate for reproduction whereas niche is the job or the interaction of the organism with its environment.
  3. Habitat may support multiple species while niche supports a single species.
  4. Habitat is the effect of the environment on an organism while niche is the effect of an organism on its environment.
  5. A species does not change its habitat while a species may have different types of a niche in its different life stages.
  6. Habitat represents a physical place while niche represents an activity performed by a living organism.

Comparison Video

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is concluded that habitat is the ecological zone of an organism in an environment in which he found his food, shelter, protection and mate for reproduction while niche is the role or interaction of an organism with the biotic and abiotic components of its environment.