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4. The struggle for existence

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Chapter Summary

When the sun shines, primary producers have to grow and reproduce. Taking it easy is suicide because those individuals that reproduce too slowly fall behind the competition and die. Every organism must therefore fight to remain alive and must waste no time in producing offspring. In this struggle for life, best use must be made of the available resources, not only during the lifetime of each organism, but also by all the generations of descendants of an organism in competition with the descendants of other organisms. During this struggle for existence, on balance evolution leads to increasingly complex life forms. Every organism must always compete with others for resources. There are therefore two ways of looking at how selection affects the diversity of body forms in nature. The first is a process of learning to use new abiotic resources; the second is an arms race.

Keywords: abiotic resources; biodiversity; ecosystem; primary producer; struggle for life



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