eco·​tone | \ ˈē-kə-ˌtōn How to pronounce ecotone (audio) , ˈe-kə- \

Definition of ecotone

: a transition area between two adjacent ecological communities

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Other Words from ecotone

ecotonal \ ˈē-​kə-​ˌtō-​nᵊl How to pronounce ecotonal (audio) , ˈe-​kə-​ \ adjective

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Every modification of climate, every disturbance of the soil, every interference with the existing vegetation of an area, favours some species at the expense of others. As Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker observed in Flora Indica (1855), all ecological communities are subject to some kind of disturbance, ranging from the simple, yet significant, loss of a tree to a catastrophic wildfire. Each disturbance creates an opportunity for a new species to colonize or flourish within the ecosystem in a process known as "ecological succession." Scientists refer to the area of overlapping landscapes where the "foreign" species encounter each other and blend together as ecotones, an apparent allusion to the tension created when competing species come together (in Greek tonos means "tension").

Examples of ecotone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The cave sits in a unique spot, an ecotone where grassland and coastal tropical forest meet. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "People Lived in This Cave for 78,000 Years," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ecotone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ecotone

1904, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ecotone

ec- + Greek tonos tension — more at tone entry 1

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The first known use of ecotone was in 1904

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Cite this Entry

“Ecotone.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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