No, Paramecium species won’t prey on each other
Paramecia eat microorganisms that are smaller than them, like bacteria, algae, and yeasts. However, Paramecium species won’t prey on each other. But two Paramecium species may compete for limited resources (nutrients and spaces).
What is the Competitive Exclusion Principle?
Russian biologist Georgy Gause (1910-1986) proposed the Competitive Exclusion Principle, sometimes referred to as Gause’s law. This principle is based on experimental work done with mixed cultures of two paramecium species: P. aurelia and P. caudatum. This principle asserts that two species competing for the same limiting resource cannot coexist at constant population values. One will be slightly more efficient than the other and will reproduce at a higher rate as a result (in this experiment, P. aurelia reproduce faster than P. caudatum). The fate of the less efficient species is local extinction (in this case, P. caudatum).
This principle became fundamental to the science of ecology and population behavior. For example, paleoanthropologists speculate that the extinction of Homo neanderthalensis was due to its disadvantage in the competition with our ancestors (Homo sapiens).
[In this figure] The demonstration of the competitive exclusion principle using two Paramecium species.
P. aurelia is the smaller but fast-growing species. P. caudatum is bigger but reproduce slowly. Both species grow happily in pure culture. However, once two species are mixed, even P. aurelia only has a slight reproductive advance, P. aurelia quickly compete and weed out P. caudatum.
This article covers
- Where to find paramecia? – Their natural habitation
- How to find paramecia for your microscopic project?
- How to culture paramecia in my laboratory, classroom or at home
- How to observe paramecia under a microscope
- Premade slide set is a good alternative to look at paramecia
- Scientific discovery with the aid of paramecium – the competitive exclusion principle
- Predator and prey – the relationship of Didinium and Paramecium