RELATED TERMS: Ecology; Habitat; Environment

In terms of the design of narrative environments, two ecological terms which may be of particular signficance are habitat and niche. Odum distinguishes the two terms in the following way:

“The ecological niche of an organism depends not only on where it lives but also on what it does. By analogy, it may be said that the habitat is the organism’s “address”, and the niche is its “profession”, biologically speaking.”

A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species. It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds, i.e. influences and is utilized by, a species population.

The ecological niche describes how an organism or population responds to the distribution of resources and competitors.


Odum, E. P (1953) Fundamentals of Ecology. Philadelphia, PA: W B Saunders.