Ecotone


Ecotone

An ecotone is a transition area between two adjacent ecological communities (ecosystems). It may appear on the ground as a gradual blending of the two communities across a broad area, or it may manifest itself as a sharp boundary line.

Changes in the physical environment may produce a sharp boundary, as in the example of the interface between areas of forest and cleared land. Elsewhere, a more gradually blended interface area will be found, where species from each community will be found together as well as unique local species. Mountain ranges often create such ecotones, due to the wide variety of climatic conditions experienced on their slopes. They may also provide a boundary between species due to the obstructive nature of their terrain; Mont Ventoux in France is a good example, marking the boundary between the flora and fauna of northern and southern France. Most wetlands are ecotones.

Ecotones are particularly significant for mobile animals, as they can exploit more than one set of habitats within a short distance. This can produce an edge effect along the boundary line, with the area displaying a greater than usual diversity of species.

The phenomenon of increased variety of plants as well as animals at the community junction is called the Edge effect and is essentially due to a locally broader range of suitable environmental conditions or ecological niches.

The word was coined from a combination of "eco"(logy) plus "-tone", from the Greek "tonos" or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension.


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  • Ecotone — Écotone La ripisylve est un exemple d écotone ayant fonction de corridor biologique. Outre les espèces des deux milieux qu elle sépare, elle abrite ou nourrit des espèces spécifiques, telles que le castor par exemple …   Wikipédia en Français

  • écotone — ● écotone nom masculin Zone de transition et de contact entre deux écosystèmes voisins, telle que la lisière d une forêt, une roselière, etc. (Les écotones ont une faune et une flore plus riches que chacun des deux écosystèmes qu ils séparent, et …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ecotone — ☆ ecotone [ek′ōtōm΄, ē′kōtōn΄ ] n. [< ECO + Gr tonos, a stretching: see TONE] a transitional zone between two adjacent communities, containing species characteristic of both as well as other species occurring only within the zone …   English World dictionary

  • Écotone — La ripisylve est un exemple d écotone ayant fonction de corridor biologique. Outre les espèces des deux milieux qu elle sépare, elle abrite ou nourrit des espèces spécifiques, telles que le castor par exemple. L écotone est la zone de transition… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ecotone — n. [Gr. oikos, house; tonos, stretch, brace] A transition area between two adjacent ecological communities or biomes; usually containing many organisms from both, as well as some characteristic of (sometimes restricted to) the ecotone …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • ecotone — ecotonal, adj. /ek euh tohn , ee keuh /, n. Ecol. the transition zone between two different plant communities, as that between forest and prairie. [1900 05; ECO + tone < Gk tónos tension] * * * ▪ ecology       a transition area of vegetation… …   Universalium

  • ecotone — eco·tone (ekґo tōn) [eco + Gr. tonos tension] a transition region where adjacent biomes blend, containing some organisms from each of the adjacent biomes plus some that are characteristic of, and perhaps restricted to, the ecotone; this… …   Medical dictionary

  • ecotone — ekotonas statusas T sritis ekologija ir aplinkotyra apibrėžtis Pereinamoji mikro ar makrosritis tarp bendrijų (pvz., jūrų ir vandenynų krantas). atitikmenys: angl. ecotone; tension zone vok. Übergangsstreifen, m; Ökoton, n; Saumbiotop, m rus.… …   Ekologijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • ecotone — noun Etymology: ec + Greek tonos tension more at tone Date: 1904 a transition area between two adjacent ecological communities • ecotonal adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ecotone — the boundary or transition area between two or more habitats or communities …   Dictionary of ichthyology


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