/nich/, n., adj., v., niched, niching.n.1. an ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object.2. a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one's niche in the business world.3. a distinct segment of a market.4. Ecol. the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals.adj.5. pertaining to or intended for a market niche; having specific appeal: niche advertising.v.t.6. to place (something) in a niche.[1605-15; < F, MF, back formation from nicher to make a nest < VL *nidiculare, deriv. of L nidus NEST]Syn. 2. calling, vocation, slot, berth.
* * *Smallest unit of a habitat that is occupied by an organism.A habitat niche is the physical space occupied by the organism; an ecological niche is the role the organism plays in the community of organisms found in the habitat. The activities of an organism and its relationships to other organisms are determined by its particular structure, physiology, and behaviour.Niche with statue of Apollo, by Jacopo Sansovino, in the Loggetta, Venice, 1540AlinariArt Resource/EB Inc.
* * *in architecture, decorative recess set into a wall for the purpose of displaying a statue, vase, font, or other object. Niches were used extensively in both interior and exterior walls by the architects of ancient Rome. A fine extant example of such use is found at the Roman Temple of Diana at Nîmes, France.Gothic examples of the decorative recess are ubiquitous, including niches in medieval structures, where they often have canopies or gables over them, such as the English cathedrals at Wells and Peterborough. Later architects, especially those of the Italian Renaissance and the classic revival of 17th- and 18th-century Europe, all made use of the niche. Semicircular niches are often featured, many having shell-like fluting at the apex.▪ ecologyin ecology, all of the interactions of a species with the other members of its community, including competition, predation, parasitism, and mutualism. A variety of abiotic factors, such as soil type and climate, also define a species' niche. Each of the various species that constitute a community occupies its own ecological niche. Informally, a niche is considered the “job” or “role” that a species performs within nature.
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