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Competitive Exclusion

Definition - What does Competitive Exclusion mean?

The principle of competitive exclusion, also known as Gause’s law of competitive exclusion in ecology refers to the phenomenon that occurs when two species with similar resource requirements and similar abilities to harness those resources coexist with one another in an environment with the required resources. When these conditions are met, one species will always gain the upper hand through evolution and mutation. The populations of the two species will never remain fixed but will fluctuate constantly as the species compete with each other for the resources.

Safeopedia explains Competitive Exclusion

Competitive exclusion is a form of naturally occurring evolution of species. When a species is at a disadvantage in the battle for resources, it will often develop random mutations and features that will give it an edge against its competitor. This causes the populations of these two species to increase and decrease as they each develop abilities that help them harness the resources better than the other species.

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