B.To have any effect on the size of subsequent populations, the young must surviveand reproduce in turn. Survival through the early growth stages to become part of the breeding population is called recruitment.II.There are two common reproductive strategies in the natural world. The first is to produce massive amounts of young, but then leave survival to the whims of nature.This strategy often results in very low recruitment. Thus, despite a high biotic potential, a population may not increase at all because of low recruitment. However,this strategy is highly successful if a species is adapted to an environment that cansuddenly change and become very favorable.A.Organisms with this strategy are usually small, with rapid reproductive rates andshort life spans.B.The second strategy is to have a much lower reproductive rate, but then care for and protect the young until they can compete for resources with adult members of the population. This strategy works best where the environment is stable andalready well populated by the species. Organisms with such a strategy are larger,longer lived, and well adapted to normal environmental fluctuations.III.Additional factors that influence population growth and geographic distribution are theability of animals to migrate, or of seeds to disperse, to similar habitats in other regions; the ability to adapt to and invade new habitats; defense mechanisms; andresistance to adverse conditions and disease.A.All of these factors are components of an species’ life history, and represent a particular strategy for reproduction and survival that enables the species to besuccessful in a unique ecological niche in the ecosystem.IV.Population explosions are seldom seen in natural ecosystems, because biotic and abioticfactors tend to cause mortality in populations.A.Among the biotic factors are predators, parasites, competitors, and lack of food.Among the abiotic factors are unusual temperatures, moisture, light, salinity, pH,lack of nutrients, and fire.B.The combination of all the biotic and abiotic factors that may limit a population’sincrease is referred to as environmental resistance.V.In general, the reproductive ability of a species remains fairly constant because thatability is part of the genetic endowment of the species. What varies substantially isrecruitment. It is in the early stages of growth that individuals are most vulnerable.A.Consequently, environmental resistance effectively reduces recruitment. If recruitment is at the replacement level—with just enough to replace the adults— then the population will remain at equilibrium. If recruitment is insufficient toreplace losses in the breeding population, then the population will decline.VI.There is a definite upper limit to the population of any particular plant or animal that anecosystem can support. This limit is known as the carrying capacity.