Difference Between Habitat and Niche

Both habitat and niche play a significant role in our environment. They do not just facilitate interaction between living organisms and their environment but also harbour the vital biotic and abiotic agents.


Though habitat and niche are closely related and quite interdependent, we must not confuse between these two. Consequently, to understand the fundamental difference between habitat and niche, one needs to start from the very basics.


For instance, becoming familiar with their definitions and learning about their examples will help you to uncover the point of difference of habitat vs niche more comprehensively. 


On that note, let us proceed to find out more about habitat and niche!


What is a Habitat?

Habitat definition biology can be defined as an ideal space wherein a particular species lives, grows, adapts and reproduces. It is their natural environment where they tend to flourish without feeling threatened. 


Typically, a habitat comprises biotic and abiotic factors; while the biotic factors include microscopic organisms, plants and animals, the abiotic factors include wind, temperature, moisture, soil, etc. 


One can find several environmental variables in habitat, and it also contains many niches. Some of the most common examples of natural habitat include mountains, lake, pond, forest, desert, ocean, grasslands, etc.  


What is a Niche in Biology?

It describes how particular organisms are linked or dependent on their immediate habitat and how they survive in different situations. A niche is more like an ideology explaining the distributional unit and hence does not comprise any distinctive component.


Nevertheless, it includes the energy flow and how it transfers from one living organism to another through their ecosystem. In a broader sense, it is a part of the natural habitat.

Notably, a niche tends to support only a single species at any given time and is essentially an activity of different organisms and their appearance. For instance, how an organism meets its requirement of food and shelter come under the examples of a niche. 


Typically, there are 3 aspects of a niche in ecology, namely –

  1. Habitat niche: It describes the microhabitat occupied by different species in a general habitat.

  2. Multidimensional niche: It helps to understand the position of a particular species in the gradient of the environment.

  3. Trophic niche: It is accountable for the functional role of a specific species and how the species’ position is in comparison to others.

Now, that we have discussed the habitat and niche definition in science, let us proceed to check out the fundamental differences between them.


The table below highlights the major difference between habitat and niche.


Difference Between Habitat and Niche


S.No.

Parameters

Habitat

Niche


Definition 

Habitat can be best defined as a region which serves as a home to species that live, grow and interact with other biotic and abiotic factors. 

A niche is more of an ideology describing how a certain organism lives, grows and survives under given environmental conditions. 


Composition

It comprises several niches. It includes flora, fauna, temperature and rainfall, among others.

Being ideology-oriented it does not comprise such components. It highlights the energy flow from one specific organism to another in an ecosystem. 


Support system

Habitat is capable of supporting more than one species at any given time.

A niche can only support one specific species at a given time.


Nature

It is essentially a physical area.

It is a specific activity performed by living organisms.


Specificity 

It is not exactly specific to species.

It is specific to species.


Set category

A habitat is a superset.

A niche is more of a subset.


Example

Forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts, etc.

It is a part of a habitat. 


Notably, the fundamental difference between habitat and niche lies in their definition, composition, nature and specificity. It can be said that in an ecosystem, a habitat comprises the physical part whereas a niche makes up the functional parts.


Nevertheless, both habitat and niches play a significant role in the ecosystem as they facilitate the growth and survival of the components of the environment and ensure its sustenance. 

Adopt and Improvise!


Since a major section of questions is based on the scope of biology, you must be well-versed in all its important concepts. Even though the syllabus is quite vast, you can strengthen your revision quite effectively by adopting smart revision techniques and improvising existing revision plans. 


For instance, switch to charts, tables and diagrams when you are covering topics like the difference between habitat and niche. It will not only make the revision process quick and hassle-free but will further help you to retain important information pertaining to habitat vs niche effectively.  


Also, do not forget to take ample rest in between your study sessions! 

Good Luck for NEET 2020!

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Difference Between a Habitat and a Niche?

Ans.  A habitat is an area where a number of species live, flourish and interact with other vital factors of the environment. On the other hand, a niche is an ideology which highlights how a particular species lives and survives under given conditions.

2. What is a Niche Definition in Science? Provide Suitable Examples.

Ans. In science, a niche can be defined as the role a particular species plays in an ecosystem. It is essentially the way how an organism lives and survives. For instance, the niche of an earthworm living in the soil is the decomposition of dead organisms.

3. What is Ecology?

Ans. It is fundamentally the study of the interaction and dependency of living organisms with their physical environment. Ecology helps to understand how organisms interact and get influenced by their surroundings. The molecular ecology, community ecology, global ecology, organismal ecology, etc. are among its important types.

4. What are the Biotic and Abiotic Factors? Explain their Role.

Ans. Both biotic and abiotic factors are vital components of an ecosystem. Notably, the biotic factors include flora and fauna of an environment, whereas, the abiotic factors include the temperature, rainfall, salinity, etc. The biotic factors are dependent on abiotic factors for their growth and sustenance.