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Principle of Competitive Exclusion

Definition - What does Principle of Competitive Exclusion mean?

The principle of competitive exclusion is also known as Gause’s law. It is used in the science of ecology to describe the situation in which two species compete for the same resources. Gause observed that in such circumstances, population values cannot remain constant.

Safeopedia explains Principle of Competitive Exclusion

If one of a pair of competing species has a competitive advantage, it will become dominant in the long term. The less competitive species will either become extinct or will need to adapt to a new ecological niche in which it can successfully compete. A common and easily memorized way of summing up the competitive exclusion principle is in the phrase: “Complete competitors cannot co-exist”. However, certain paradoxes may result in apparent exceptions to this principle. For example, many types of algae co-exist and compete successfully for sunshine.

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