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(2) Population ecology (a) (b) Population ecology studies organisms from the point of view of the size and structure of their

populations A population ecologist studies the interaction of organisms with their environments by measuring properties of populations rather than the behavior of individual organisms Properties of populations include (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (d) Population size (size) Population density (density) Patterns of dispersion (dispersion) Demographics (demographics) Population growth (growth) Limits on population growth (limits)


Note that all of these properties are not those of individual organisms but instead are properties which exist only if one considers more than one organism at any given time or over a period of time (i!e! they are emergent properties) "#he characteristics of a population are shaped by the interactions between individuals and their environments on both ecological and evolutionary time scales and natural selection can modify these characteristics in a population!" #hus population ecology also goes beyond consideration of $ust population parameters and additionally considers how the characteristics of individual organisms impact on population parameters



(3) Population (a) A population in an ecological sense is a group of organisms of the same species which roughly occupy the same geographical area at the same time

(b) %ndividual members of the same population can either interact directly or may interact with the dispersing progeny of other members of the same population (e!g! pollen) Population members interact with a similar environment and experience similar environmental limitations (c) (4) Population size (a) (b) (c) (d) A population&s size depends on how the population is defined %f a population is defined in terms of some degree of reproductive isolation then that population&s size is the size of its gene pool %f a population is defined in terms of some geographical range then that population&s size is the number of individuals living in the defined area 'cologists typically are more concerned with the latter means of defining a population since this is both easier to do and is a more practical measure if one is interested in determining the impact of a given population on a given ecosystem or vice versa ( ) Population !ensity (a) (iven that a population is defined in terms of some natural or arbitrarily defined geographical range then population density may be defined as simply the number of individual organisms per unit area Different species of course exist at different densities in their environments and the same species may be able to achieve one density in one environment and another in a different environment Population densities may additionally be determined in terms of some measure other than population size per unit area such as population mass per unit area (b) (c) ) (") Patte#ns o$ !ispe#sion (a) (i) (ii) %ndividual members of populations may be distributed over a geographical area in a number of different ways including *lumped distribution (attraction) +niform distribution (repulsion) .

". the net effect is that some parts of the range will have a large number of individuals whereas others will contain few or none A uniform distribution means that approximately the same distance may be found between individual organisms.andom spacing occurs in the absence of strong attractions or repulsions among individuals of a population!" Note that both clumping and uniform distributions suggest that individual organisms are either interacting with one another (actively see/ing each other out or actively avoiding each other) or are all competing with one another for the same limited resources regardless of the overall population density (as in the case of clumping which results from geographical patchiness) (d) (e) (f) (%) &e'og#ap(ics (a) (b) (c) (d) A population&s demographics are its vital statistics particularly those statistics which can impact on present and future population size #wo statistics that are of particular import are a population&s age structure and a population&s sex ratio Additional considerations (in human populations and for example) are considered to the right � 0demographics ((oogle 1earch)) 0*enter for Demography and 'cology) 0in!e)) (*) Age st#uctu#e (a) (b) (i) Age structure refers to the size of cohorts within a population Parameters related to age structure include 2ecundity (birth rate) .andom distribution (minimal interaction-influence) *lumping may result either from individual organisms being attracted to each other or individual organisms being attracted more to some patches within a range than they are to other patches. uniform distributions result from individual organisms actively repelling each other A random distribution means that where individual organisms are found is only minimally influenced by interactions with other members of the same population and random distributions are uncommon.(iii) (c) .

) /ecun!ity 01i#t( #ate2 (a) (b) (c) 2ecundity refers to the average birth rate associated with a population #he greater a population&s fecundity all else held constant the faster a population will increase in size Note that fecundity typically varies with the age of individuals (--) 3ene#ation ti'e (a) (b) (c) (eneration time is simply the average span between the birth of individuals and the birth of their offspring "4ther factors being e3ual a shorter generation time will result in faster population growth!" Note that species which are capable of reproducing more than once will display an overlapping of generations which basically means that parental cohorts and progeny cohorts can be alive (and potentially competing with one another) at the same time Note that another way of saying this is that when life expectancies exceed the minimum time between generations generations will overlap (d) (-2) &eat( #ate (a) (b) Death rate is the rate at which individuals of a certain age die Note that death rates often vary with age with either the very young or the very old displaying the greatest death rates .(ii) (iii) (f) (+) .o(o#t (a) (b) (c) (eneration time Death rate 0age structure ((oogle 1earch)) 0in!e)) A cohort is a group of individuals all of whom have the same age %n a typical population the size of cohorts will vary with age 2or example in a typical population younger cohorts will be larger (i!e! more individuals per cohort) than older cohorts all else being e3ual (-.

the fewer females the slower the rate of population growth #his of course is because uteruses are limiting and males often can inseminate more than one female #his generalization falls apart however when males are limited in their ability to inseminate more than one female or when males contribute significantly to the raising of offspring 6elow are sex ratios (New 1outh 7ales) as they vary with age (units on y axis are in living males per 899 females): (b) (c) (d) (e) SUR4I4ORS5IP .UR4ES � (-4) Su#6i6o#s(ip cu#6es (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (i) (ii) (iii) 4bserving age structure graphically can provide insights into a species& (or a population&s) ecology 1urvivorship curves graph cohort size against relative age See /igu#e 2738 I!ealize! su#6i6o#s(ip cu#6es #he typical survivorship curve shows cohort size declining with age #here exist three general types of survivorship curves #ype % #ype %% #ype %%% .(c) Note additionally that population growth occurs when overall birth rates exceed overall death rates (-3) Se) #atio (a) 5ore often than not the rate at which a population may grow is dependent on the sex ratio in the population.

) Type II su#6i6o#s(ip cu#6es (a) (b) (c) (d) #he simplest type of decline is exponential i!e! the death rate for every cohort is the same #hese survivorship curves graph as a straight line on semi<logarithmic graph paper (i!e! as presented in a typical survivorship curve) #he individuals in populations that display a type %% curve are those that both do not age and are born as fully fit as adults e!g! hydra %ndividuals are lost in these populations mostly to accidents and predation (-") Type I su#6i6o#s(ip cu#6es (a) 6ecause individuals tend to die exponentially due to accidents or predation it often is a good strategy to reproduce relatively early in a life span rather than relatively late (i) (ii) (iii) (f) #hat way individuals achieve reproduction while they still have a reasonable li/elihood of being alive #his is assuming of course that the goal is a Darwinian one i!e! maximizing one&s reproductive output Note that how such a strategy wor/s is complicated if individual fecundity increases with age 0((oogle 1earch)) 0in!e)) (-%) Type III su#6i6o#s(ip cu#6es (a) (b) #he other side of the survivorship coin is the degree of investment in individual progeny 1ome organisms invest a great deal in each offspring and those organisms are (ideally at least) rewarded with relatively high survivorship at early ages 4ther organisms invest little in individual offspring and display very low early<age survivorship (which they ma/e up for by producing buc/ets of offspring) (c) .(f) Note in the following survivorship curves that the y axis is logarithmic.. (..

(d) 4rganisms that produce large numbers of cheap progeny and which display minimal declines in fecundity with age if they survive their youth display type %%% survivorship curves 'xamples include sea turtles and trees #hat is type %%% survivorship species have a very large rate of mortality when young but should they survive their youth they put significant energy into continued survival since the longer they survive the more progeny they will produce (e) (f) � (22) Population g#o9t( (a) (b) (i) (ii) (c) (c) (/) (l) "#he =<shaped curve of exponential growth is characteristic of populations that are introduced into a new or unfilled environment or whose numbers have been drastically reduced by a catastrophic event and are rebounding!" #he simplest case of population growth is that which occurs when there exist no limitations on growth within the environment %n such situations two things occur #he population displays its intrinsic rate of increase #he population experiences exponential growth 0population growth "population growth" and "population ecology"� ((oogle 1earch)) 0in!e)) 7hen population size is graphed against time (e!g! generations) a population growing exponentially displays a =<shaped curve (oogle 1earch)) 0in!e)) (2 ) Li'its on population g#o9t( (a) 'xponential growth cannot go on forever. sooner or later any population will run into limits in their environment .

density dependent interactions Large High Few Late !with much parental care" Long More than one ype $ or $$ .r Unstable environment. density independent Organism size Energy used to make each individual # Offspring produced iming of maturation Life e#pectancy Lifetime reproductive events Survivorship curve Small Low Many Early Short One ype $$$ K Stable environment.