AskDefine | Define microhabitat

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A specific habitat, typically extremely small, such as a cave corner or a cardboard box.

Extensive Definition

A habitat (which is Latin for "it inhabits") 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 (influences and is utilized by) a species population.
The term "species population" is preferred to "organism" because, while it is possible to describe the habitat of a single black bear, we may not find any particular or individual bear but the grouping of bears that comprise a breeding population and occupy a certain biogeographical area. Further, this habitat could be somewhat different from the habitat of another group or population of black bears living elsewhere. Thus it is neither the species nor the individual for which the term habitat is typically used.
A microhabitat is a physical location that is home to very small creatures, such as woodlice. Microenvironment is the immediate surroundings and other physical factors of an individual plant or animal within its habitat.

Ecological use

The term "habitat" can be used more broadly in ecology. It was originally defined as the physical conditions that surround a species, or species population, or assemblage of species, or community (Clements and Shelford, 1939). Thus, it is not just a species population that has a habitat, but an assemblage of many species living together in the same place that essentially share a habitat. In ecology, the habitat shared by many species is called a biotope. A biome is the set of flora and fauna which live in a habitat and occupy a certain geography.
Habitats can provide greater protection from big animals, for example, a thick undergrowth where an animal such as the Kudu may hide or go unnoticed.


Habitat destruction is a major factor in causing a species population to decrease, eventually leading to its being endangered, or even to its extinction. Large scale land clearing usually results in the removal of native vegetation and habitat destruction. Bushfires and poor fire management, pest and weed invasion, cyclone and storm damage can also destroy habitat.
One of the roles of national parks, nature reserves and other protected areas is to provide adequate refuge to animals by preserving habitat.

Human habitat

Human habitat is the environment in which human beings live, work, play and move about. It is not just a dwelling place – a house - but the sum of all factors that constitute the total environment.


Further reading

microhabitat in Bulgarian: Местообитание
microhabitat in Catalan: Hàbitat
microhabitat in Danish: Habitat
microhabitat in German: Habitat
microhabitat in Spanish: Hábitat
microhabitat in French: Habitat (écologie)
microhabitat in Indonesian: Habitat
microhabitat in Italian: Habitat
microhabitat in Hebrew: בית גידול
microhabitat in Javanese: Habitat
microhabitat in Lithuanian: Buveinė
microhabitat in Dutch: Habitat
microhabitat in Japanese: 生息地
microhabitat in Norwegian: Habitat
microhabitat in Norwegian Nynorsk: Habitat
microhabitat in Occitan (post 1500): Abitat
microhabitat in Polish: Siedlisko (biologia)
microhabitat in Portuguese: Hábitat
microhabitat in Romanian: Habitat
microhabitat in Russian: Ареал
microhabitat in Simple English: Habitat
microhabitat in Slovenian: Habitat (ekologija)
microhabitat in Serbian: Ареал
microhabitat in Swedish: Habitat
microhabitat in Tamil: வாழிடம் (வாழ்சூழலியல்)
microhabitat in Vietnamese: Hệ sinh thái tự nhiên
microhabitat in Turkish: Habitat
microhabitat in Ukrainian: Ареал
microhabitat in Chinese: 棲息地
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