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Manuel Tzul

EDU. SEC. Science


Ecology

Population Distribution
How does population distribution affect the environment?

Why?
Alaska contains over 127 million acres of untouched forest land. It is the largest state in the United States,
yet with a population of nearly 700,000 people it has the same total population as Austin, Texas. New
Jersey is one of the smallest states and home to a population of nearly 9 million, but almost 1.8 million of
its 4.4 million total land acres are untouched natural woodland. What are the reasons for the ways populations organize themselves, and what effect does this organization have on the environment?

Model 1 Population Density and Distribution


2 km
Habitat 1

Habitat 4
2 km

Habitat 3

Habitat 2

Habitat 5
= individual organism

1. Refer to Model 1.
a. What do the dots in the diagrams represent?

Individual organisms

b. What do the boxes in the diagrams represent?


Area of habitat

2. Calculate the area of a single habitat.


4 km^2

3. Consider the arrangements of the dots in Model 1.


a. Describe the arrangements of the dots in habitat 3.

Uniform, evenly distributed

Population Distribution

b. Describe the arrangement of the dots in habitat 4.


Grouped together

4. Fill in the table below by counting the number of individuals in each habitat in Model 1 and
then calculate the area available per individual.
Habitat No.

Area (km2)

No. of Individuals

No. of Individuals/Unit area (Density)

31

7.75 /km^2

1/km^2
12

3/km^2

15

3.75/km^2
1.75/km^2

5. Refer to the completed table above.


a. Which habitat shows a high population density?

Habitat 1

b. Which habitat shows the lowest population density?


Habitat 2

6. Draw a vertical line through the middle of each of the boxes in model 1. Label the left side a
and the right side b on each box. Complete the table below for each half of each habitat.
Habitat No.
1
2
3
4
5

Area (km2)

a
b

2
2

b
a
b

No. of Individuals/Unit area (Density)


8/km^2
7.55/km^2
1.5/km^2

0.5/km^2

3/km^2

3/km^2

11

5.5/km^2

a
b

16
15

No. of Individuals

2/km^2
5
2

2.5/km^2
2/km^2

7. For which of the habitats in Model 1 is population density very similar between sides a and b?

Habitat 1 &3

8. For which of the habitats in Model 1 is the population density quite different between sides a
and b?

habitat 2,4,&5

2 POGIL Activities for High School Biology

9. Label each of the diagrams on Model 1 using the terms clumped (clustered), random, and
uniform (even) to describe the population distribution within the boxes.
1, 3= uniformed 2,5=random 4=chomped

10. Compare and contrast the terms population density and population distribution.

density is the number of individuals per unit area. distribution is the arrangemnet of individuals in a given are

11. Assuming the population size stays constant, propose at least two factors that might cause a
population to shift from a low density habitat to a high density habitat?
Loss of food source and change in enviornment

12. Animals such as lions or wolves often show clumped distribution. Give a reason why this would
be advantageous for these animals.
Lions and wolves are social animals living and hunting in groups. each group is territorial so their
territories do not overlap.

13. Other than social reasons, list any other factors that may lead to clumped distribution patterns in
populations.

The patterns of avialable resources in their enviornment, such as clustering around watering sites, may be
factor. Other factors may include protection from predators and the inability to move from one place to
another, such as new bord who depend on their mothers.

14. For each of the organisms listed below state the type of population distribution and population
density of their habitat. Give a reason for each answer.
Organism

Distribution

Density

Tigers

Reason
Territorial and hunters

uniform

Low

Bison
clumped

High

herding animals

Ants
clumped

High

Dandelions
Random

Apple trees in
an orchard

High

Live in organized colonies


seeds dispersed by wind so individuals land
and grow at random
Evenly spaced to avoid competition

Uniform

Population Distribution

High

Model 2 Factors Affecting Density


Factor

Density Dependent

Food supply

Density Independent

Rainfall

Flood

Parasites

Acidity

Disease

Drought

Competition

Predation

15. Refer to Model 2.


a. Which factors are dependent on the population density?
Food supply, parasitism, disease, competition, and predation

b. Describe how the food supply would be affected by the population density.
Dense population are all competing for the same food source within a given area

c. Describe how the levels or spread of disease would be affected by population density.
The more crowded the population, the higher the chance that disease will spread

16. What do all the density-independent factors have in common?


They are all enviornmental factors

17. In your own words, dene density dependent and density independent by completing the
sentences below.
Density-dependent factors are
directly affected by the density of individuals in a given area

Density-independent factors are


unaffected by the number of individuals in a given area

18. Density-independent factors and density-dependent factors may be interrelated. For example, a
lack of rainfall that causes a drought will impact the food supply in a habitat. Propose another
pairing of a density-independent factor and density-dependent factor that might occur.
Heavy rainfall or flooding can cause an increase in parasitic species.
drought can cause increase in competition for food source.

POGIL Activities for High School Biology

Extension Questions
Read This!
Allelopathy (allelon of each other and pathos to suffer) is the chemical inhibition of one species by
another. This phenomena is frequently found in plants where one species of plant releases a chemical into
the environment that inhibits the growth of another species of plant. An example is the Creosote bush,
which releases terpenes into the surrounding soil to inhibit the growth of other plants.
19. Describe what might be observed in a habitat that would indicate a plant species is allelopathic?

A single species, clear zone, weak or sickly plants surrounding it.

20. Considering what you know about population distribution, what type of distribution is likely to
arise as a result of allelopathy? Justify your answer using complete sentences.

Uniform or clumped distribution of a single species would result since the growth of the other
species would be inhibited.

21. What would be some advantages of allelopathy to a plant?


no competition , allows the plants to maximize the resources in the enviornment

22. What would be some disadvantages to the ecosystem where allelopathic plants grow?

Lack of competition would lead to the growth of a single species. This would upset the blance
of other life forms in the enviornment.

23. Is it likely that a species that exhibits allelopathy would evolve over time? Explain your answer
using what you know about the mechanisms of evolution.

Evolution aries from competition for scarse resources. If the competition between species is removed
due to allelopathy then new species may not arise through evolution.

24. The sorghum plant releases the allelotoxin sorgolene that disrupts mitochondrial functions
and inhibits photosynthesis. Brainstorm with your group some positive applications for this
allelotoxin.
Weed suppresants

Population Distribution