The diversity of matches within communities

Although a particular type of organism is often characteristic of a particular ecological situation, it will almost inevitably be only part of a diverse community of species. A satisfactory account, therefore, must do more than identify the similarities between organisms that allow them to live in the same environment -it must also try to explain why species that live in the same environment are often profoundly different. To some extent, this 'explanation' of diversity is a trivial exercise. It comes as no surprise that a plant utilizing sunlight, a fungus living on the plant, a herbivore eating the plant and a parasitic worm living in the herbivore should all coexist in the same community. On the other hand, most communities also contain a variety of different species that are all constructed in a fairly similar way and all living (at least superficially) a fairly similar life. There are several elements in an explanation of this diversity.

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