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Related to Ecotype: ecophene, ecocline


A subunit, race, or variety of a plant ecospecies that is restricted to one habitat; equivalent to a taxonomic subspecies.



a group of similar populations within one and the same plant species that are adapted to certain climatic, edaphic, or cenotic conditions and that have developed, under these conditions, hereditary morphological, physiological, biochemical, and other features. Thus, an ecotype is isolated with respect to distribution; genotypically it is an intraspecific subdivision, which distinguishes it from a biotype.

The term “ecotype” was introduced in the 1920’s by the Swedish scientist G. Turesson. Different plants have different numbers of ecotypes. The ecotypic composition of a species becomes more varied as its geographic range and ecological amplitude increase. For example, 36 ecotypes have been distinguished in the pine Pinus silvestris and 27 in the spruce Picea abies. Ecotypic polymorphism is most clearly manifested at the center of speciation and morphogenesis. In the medic Medicago falcata, for example, there are many ecotypes in the Caucasus and only a few in the northern USSR. Parallel ecotypic differentiation is observed in many species. Thus, the wormwood Artemisia campestris, sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), and Silene uniflora, which grow in bright, dry habitats where there are strong winds, develop eco-types with procumbent stems.

Three main groups of ecotypes are distinguished: climatic, edaphic, and biotypic. Climatic, or geographic, ecotypes occupy a separate part of the area of distribution of a species and originated under the influence of specific climatic conditions; for example, in the awnless brome (Bromus inermis), the southern eco-type differs from the northern one by its nanism, narrow rough leaves, and wax coating. Edaphic ecotypes develop under the influence of soil and ground conditions, such as the pine ecotype on the chalky outcrops of the Don River, which has even been described as the independent species Pinus cretácea. Biotypic, or cenotic, ecotypes appear and develop mainly under the influence of plants together with which the given species form plant communities, for example, the field and forest ecotypes of the cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) and the forest and dune ecotypes of the narrow-leaved hawkweed (Hieracium umbellatum).

The development of an ecotype is a lengthy process. If an ecotype has progressive characteristics, which permit it to extend the range of the species, it may give rise to a new species, and consequently an ecotype is one of the stages in the process of specia-tion.


Sinskaia, E. N. Dinamika vida. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Zavadskii, K. M. Uchenie o vide. Leningrad, 1961.
Korchagin, A. A. “Vnutrividovoi (populiatsionnyi) sostav rastitel’nykh soobshchestv i metody ego izucheniia.” In the book Polevaia geobotanika, vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
The case is made that both ecotypes of caribou in west-central Alberta rely on caribou lichen as their primary winter food source.
The location of this sighting suggests that this dolphin is of the offshore ecotype (11,12).
indicate that the populations at least represent ecotypes, if not species.
Keywords: age, Alaskan moose, Alces alces, antlers, ecotypes, genetics, habitat, morphology, nutrition, size, taiga, tundra
In a greenhouse experiment, Wolff(1987) analyzed morphological variability in a pseudo-F2 generation derived from crosses between two ecotypes of P.
Seed mass in the nahG line was severely reduced by competition, while seed mass in the wild-type ecotype Wassilewskija was unaffected by competition.
Seeds of Arabidopsis ecotype Columbia, obtained from the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center at the Ohio State University, were scattered on top of the fine vermiculate.
pipiens are not genetically differentiated, with the former probably being and ecotype of the later.
This ecotype is a comparatively homogeneous unit, occurring on a drumlinized till plateau surrounding periglacial lake deposits, and dissected by many rivers, lakes, and wetlands (Child 1992).
Indicators of ecosystem status often consist of species with common properties such as foraging guild membership, spatial distribution, ecotype, or some combination of these (e.
Expansion of the northern pygmy mouse into northeastern Texas appears to have followed the blackland-prairie ecotype (Gould, 1975) northward and then eastward as the oak-hickory association and piney woods were degraded by pine plantations, road-building, and fire-suppression in the 20th century (Hunsaker et al.