Karla Jauregui Sandoval
As reviewed in Unit 1 there is a range of environmental conditions all over the world, ranging from a biome with low precipitation to another with water all year long. The range of conditions connects to the adaptability a species has to live in certain environmental conditions. Thus the terms generalist vs species comes into play. These two categories use a number of factors to divide organisms on their adaptability to different conditions. The number of factors that can be used to different generalist vs specialist are
Niche/ Adaptability ➢ What is the range of tolerance to change in an environment
Diet ➢ What is the variety of the resources they are able to survive off
Location ➢ Where the species are mostly found
Tolerance ➢ How a population reacts to ecological changes
Image Courtesy of Pixabay
A generalist is a species that has a broad niche and is able to adapt to many environmental conditions. They do not have a limited diet and are able to survive by using a variety of resources. Generalist species can be found in a larger range of locations around the world as they are adaptable. Additionally, they have a higher tolerance to environmental change.
A key feature of generalist species is that they have a higher advantage of surviving in habitat that is changing.. They are able to survive because they have a large range of resources which allows them to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions and diet as well.
An example of a generalist species is a raccoon. A raccoon has a broad niche because it can adapt to any environmental conditions. You can find raccoons in your backyard, local city dumpsters on a family trip across the world. They are adaptable to change and are mostly found in suburban or urban areas. Their diet aligns with the season and their surroundings. They could eat berries of human litter depending on their environment.
Image Courtesy of Pixabay
A specialist species, on the other hand, has a narrow niche and is not adaptable to change in their environment. They have a limited diet and can not survive without their necessary diet. Specialist species are found in specific habitats because they need the appropriate amount of food, water, sunlight and shelter. Their range of tolerance is low which means that they are not suitable to change in their environment. Everything needs to be balanced or else a specialist population will decline.
A key feature of a specialist species is that they are not able to survive as well in a changing habitat as generalist species are. This is due because they have a narrow niche with a limited range of resources.
An example of a specialist species is a panda. Pandas need a certain diet and habitat in order to survive. Pandas are mostly found in Temperate Broadleaf Deciduous Forests, Tropical Broadleaf Evergreen, and Bamboo Forests because of the specific diet they have. Pandas can only survive off eating bamboo and other grasses.
A temperate grassland inhabits a variety of species with plants and animals. A natural disaster destroys their habitat and brings in different species to the habitat. Which organisms are most likely to survive in the new environmental conditions and why?
Broad Niche and adaptable to many environments
Narrow niche and are not adaptable to change in environment
Not a picky eater, use a variety of resources
Can be found around the world, not one specific location
Found in specific habitats
Range of Tolerance
High tolerance “Go with the flow” quite tolerant to changes in ecosystem, resit changes
Low tolerance “That is not how we do it”
Highly sensitive to change, pop. declines to change
Raccoons, rats, mice, cockroaches, coyotes, whitetail deer, brown rats, horseshoe crab
Panda, river otter, owls, koala, sword-billed hummingbird, venus flytrap
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3.1Generalist and Specialist Species
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