population growth patterns


Migration is the movement of individual organisms into, or out of, a population. Migration affects population growth rate. There are two types of migration: 1. Immigration is the movement of individuals into a population from other areas. This increases the population size and growth rate. 2. Emigration is the movement of individuals out of a population. This decreases the population size and growth rate. The earlier growth rate equation can be modified to account for migration: growth rate = (birth rate + immigration rate) (death rate + emigration rate). One type of migration that you are probably familiar with is the migration of birds. Maybe you have heard that birds fly south for the winter. In the fall, birds fly thousands of miles to the south where it is warmer. In the spring, they return to their homes. ( Figure 1.2). Monarch butterflies also migrate from Mexico to the northern U.S. in the summer and back to Mexico in the winter. These types of migrations move entire populations from one location to another. A flock of barnacle geese fly in formation during the autumn migration.


exponential growth

Population growth can be described with two models, based on the size of the population and necessary resources. These two types of growth are known as exponential growth and logistic growth. If a population is given unlimited amounts of resources, such as food and water, land if needed, moisture, oxygen, and other environmental factors, it will grow exponentially. Exponential growth occurs as a population grows larger, dramatically increasing the growth rate. This is shown as a "J-shaped" curve below ( Figure 1.3). You can see that the population grows slowly at first, but as time passes, growth occurs more and more rapidly. Growth of populations according to ex- ponential (or J-curve) growth model (left) and logistic (or S-curve) growth model (right). Time is plotted on the x-axis, and population size is plotted on the y-axis. In nature, organisms do not usually have ideal environments with unlimited food. In nature, there are limits. Sometimes, there will be plenty of food. Sometimes, a fire will wipe out all of the available nutrients. Sometimes a predator will kill many individuals in a population. How do you think these limits affect the way organisms grow?


births deaths and migration

Population growth rate depends on birth rates and death rates, as well as migration. First, we will consider the effects of birth and death rates. You can predict the growth rate by using this simple equation: growth rate = birth rate death rate. If the birth rate is larger than the death rate, then the population grows. If the death rate is larger than the birth rate, what will happen to the population? The population size will decrease. If the birth and death rates are equal, then the population size will not change. Factors that affect population growth are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Age of organisms at first reproduction. How often an organism reproduces. The number of offspring of an organism. The presence or absence of parental care. How long an organism is able to reproduce. The death rate of offspring. For an ecosystem to be stable, populations in that system must be healthy, and that usually means reproducing as much as their environment allows. Do organisms reproduce yearly or every few years? Do organisms reproduce for much of their life, or just part of their life? Do organisms produce many offspring at once, or just a few, or even just one? Do many newborn organisms die, or do the majority survive? All these factors play a role in the growth of a population. Organisms can use different strategies to increase their reproduction rate. Altricial organisms are helpless at birth, and their parents give them a lot of care. This care is often seen in bird species. ( Figure 1.1). Altricial birds are usually born blind and without feathers. Compared to precocial organisms, altricial organisms have a longer period of development before they reach maturity. Precocial organisms, such as the geese shown below, can take care of themselves at birth and do not require help from their parents ( Figure 1.1). In order to reproduce as much as possible, altricial and precocial organisms must use very different strategies. (left) A hummingbird nest with young il- lustrates an altricial reproductive strategy, with a few small eggs, helpless young, and intensive parental care. (right) The Canada goose shows a precocial repro- ductive strategy. It lays a large number of large eggs, producing well-developed young.


population growth

What does population growth mean? You can probably guess that it means the number of individuals in a population is increasing. The population growth rate tells you how quickly a population is increasing or decreasing. What determines the population growth rate for a particular population?

instructional diagrams

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many birds are altricial organisms, needing a lot of parental care.

-->  a. true

b. false

exponential growth requires an unlimited food supply.

-->  a. true

b. false

which factor affects the population growth rate?

-->  a) the age of organisms at first reproduction.

b) the age of an organism at death.

c) the age of the newborn at birth.

d) all of the above

if the death rate is larger than the birth rate, what will happen to the population?

a) the population size will stay the same.

b) the population size will increase.

-->  c) the population size will decrease.

d) nothing will happen

what happens to population growth as resources become less available?

a) logistic growth becomes exponential growth

-->  b) exponential growth becomes logistic growth

c) exponential growth continues to the carrying capacity

d) logistic growth stops

which of the following is true about altricial organisms?

a) altricial organisms require minimal parental support.

b) altricial birds are able to fly at birth.

-->  c) altricial birds are usually born blind and without feathers.

d) altricial organisms reach maturity relatively quickly.

which factor affects the population growth rate?

a) the presence or absence of parental care.

b) the death rate of offspring.

c) how often an organism reproduces.

-->  d) all of the above

diagram questions

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