The opposite of an opportunist is a competitor

  • The opposite of an opportunist is a competitor. These organisms tend to have big bodies, are long-lived, and spend relatively little effort each year on reproduction. An oak tree is a good example of a competitor. A massive oak claims its ground for 200 years or more, outcompeting all other would-be canopy trees by casting a dense shade and drawing up any free water in the soil. The leaves of an oak tree taste foul because they are rich in tannins, a chemical that renders them distasteful or indigestible to many organisms. The tannins are part of the defense mechanism that is essential to longevity. Although oaks produce thousands of acorns, the investment in a crop of acorns is small compared with the energy spent on building leaves, trunk, and roots. Once an oak tree becomes established, it is likely to survive minor cycles of drought and even fire. A population of oaks is likely to be relatively stable through time, and its survival is likely to depend more on its ability to withstand the pressures of competition or predation than on its ability to take advantage of chance events. It should be noted, however, that the pure opportunist or pure competitor is rare in nature, as most species fall between the extremes of a continuum, exhibiting a blend of some opportunistic and some competitive characteristics.

    Which of the following are mentioned in the paragraph as contributing to the longevity of an oak tree

    Answer (score 79+):
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