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r selectionr Selektion (ger.)

  • A type of selection that favours organisms with a high biotic potential (r value). Organisms that are r selected (r strategists) are able to colonize a habitat rapidly, utilizing the food and other resources before other organisms are established and begin to compete. The r strategists tend to be relatively small organisms with short life spans (e.g. bacteria) and often live in temporary or unstable environments; characteristically their survival depends on their ability to produce large numbers of offspring rather than on their ability to compete. (Oxford Dict. of Biology 2008) 
    life history K selection

    In an environment with no crowding (r selection) genotypes which harvest the most food (even if wastefully) will rear the largest families and be most fit. Evolution here favors productivity.

    MacArthur, R.H. & Wilson, E.O. (1967). The Theory of Island Biogeography: 149.


    selection Selection favouring a rapid rate of population increase, typical of species that colonize short-lived environments or of species that undergo large fluctuations in population size; cf. selection.

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 211.