What Does a Niche Refer to in Science?

A niche is a scientific term used to describe the relationships between a species and the elements in its ecosystem. It is determined primarily by the way a species reacts to environmental factors, such as food sources and predators.

These factors are divided into biotic, or living, factors and abiotic, or non-living, factors. Examples of biotic factors include animals, plants and fungi. Abiotic factors encompass a wide range of elements, such as water, sunlight, minerals and natural gases. A species that has limited interactions with its ecosystem may become endangered from environmental changes, such as habitat reduction or loss of specific food sources.