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Population Dynamics,
Carrying Capacity, and
Conservation Biology
Chapter 9
“In looking at nature…never forget that
every single organic being around us may
be said to be striving to increase its
Charles Darwin, 1859
Key Concepts
Factors affecting population size
Species reproductive patterns
Species survivorship patterns
Conservation biology and human impacts
on ecosystems
Population Dynamics and Carrying Capacity
Population dynamics
Zero population growth (ZPG)
Biotic potential (intrinsic rate of
increase [r])
Environmental resistance
Carrying capacity
Minimum viable population (MVP)
Population Dispersion
Factors Affecting Population Size
Exponential and Logistic Growth
Fig. 9-4 p. 192
Fig. 9-5 p. 193
Fig. 9-6 p. 193
Population Density Effects
Density-independent controls
Density-dependent controls
Natural Population Curves
The Role of Predation in Controlling
Population Size
Predator-prey cycles
Bottom-up control
Top-down control
Reproductive Patterns and Survival
Asexual reproduction
Sexual reproduction
r-selected species
K-selected species
Fig. 9-10
p. 196
Why are pest species likely to be extreme rselected species?
Why are many endangered species likely to
be extreme K-selected species?
Survivorship Curves
Fig. 9-11 p. 198
Conservation Biology: Sustaining
Wildlife Populations
Investigating human impacts on
Ideas for maintaining biodiversity
Endangered species management
Wildlife reserves and ecological
Ecological economics
Environmental ethics
Wildlife management
Human Impacts on Ecosystems
Habitat degradation and
Ecosystem simplification
Genetic resistance
Predator elimination
Introduction of non-native species
Over harvesting renewable resources
Interference with ecological systems
Learning From Nature
In groups of four…choose one wild
plant species and one animal species
and analyze the factors that are likely to
limit the populations of each species.
Make an informational poster about the
species (you will have two – one plant
and one animal) on half of a piece of
paper and then make an informational
poster about the limitations on the other