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Population Ecology

Campbell and Reece, Chapter 53


Principles of Biology I (Biology 113) Notes, 2014

Ours is a singular case; no other population of large animals has likely


ever sustained so much growth for so long. Reece et al. p. 1268

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

As the human population reaches 9-10 billion in the mid twenty-first century,
which probably exceeds carrying capacity, and will be followed by a
downsizing (Barrett and Odum, 2000; Lutz, Sanderson, and Scherboy, 2001),
it is imperative that future generations understand Goodlands (1995)
definition of sustainability as maintaining natural capital

quote from Odum and Barrett (2004) in Clements, D.R. and


Shrestha, A. (eds.). 2004. New Dimensions in Agroecology. The
Haworth Press, Binghamton, NY. 553 pp.

Are population biology or science & technology sufficient?

Does a Christian worldview offer greater depth and breadth?

Distinctives of a Christian Environmental Ethic (after BoumaPrediger and Stephenson in Living the Good Life on Gods Good
Earth)
1. God is a community of love (a Trinity) who takes on human flesh to
redeem our world (John 1:14, John 3:16)
THE WORLD: ONLY HOPE FOR SAVING THE WORLD IS OURSELVES
2. God creates all things and makes a covenant with creation (Gen. 1,
Gen. 6-9)
THE WORLD: WE AND THE OTHER CREATURES ARE COSMIC ORPHANS
3. God is distinct from creation but also intimately sustains it (Ps. 104)
THE WORLD: THE ENVIRONMENT IS SUSTAINED BY NATURAL
PROCESSES
4. All creation worships God (Ps. 148)
THE WORLD: CREATION HAS NO HIGHER PURPOSE, IT EXISTS FOR
ITSELF
5. Humans are to rule the earth according to Gods justice (Gen. 1:2628)
THE WORLD: HUMANS HAVE NO PARTICULAR ROLE OTHER THAN
TRYING TO FIX UP THE MESS
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6. As earthly creatures we are called to serve the earth (Gen. 2:15)


THE WORLD: WILLING TO SERVE THE EARTH ONLY AS LONG AS IT
SERVES US

The Blaauw Eco Forest


Generous family donates funds for TWU to purchase portion of Glen
Valley forest
http://www.twu.ca/news/2013/042-land-donation.html
A Rocha Canada Christians in Conservation
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and
pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear
from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
http://vimeo.com/72450691
Excerpts from Kingfishers Fire by Peter Harris, founder of A Rocha
International:
Markku Kostamo knew that visibility was poor on December mornings
in rural British Columbia, but even so he was sure that last night he
had left only seven cattle in his pasture. As he rubbed his eyes against
the early gloom, he could see that there were at least forty there now,
and they were a far more mixed bunch than his beloved Scottish
Highlands. Heavy with the early dew on their hides, they were chewing
philosophically and didnt seem in any hurry to go anywhere. Even so,
Markku saw he had no alternative but to stumble out of the farmhouse
and make a new plan for the
morning. One quick look at the animals and a couple of phone calls
later, he had his explanation.
Markku and his wife Leah run the farm in Canada as an A Rocha
centre and among their neighbours is a cattle feed-lot. It was their
entire stock that had made a break for freedom, quite wisely heading
for the good organic pasture of the A Rocha meadows.
As an A Rocha experience, it was only too familiar and
disorientating. When the story of the first field study centre was told in
the pages of Under the Bright Wings fifteen years ago, there was only
one project to show for ten years of local involvement in the Algarve
one cow in the meadow as it were. At the time of writing, work is going
on in seventeen countries, and as just one indicator of what that
means I was recently told that over fifty thousand children were
involved last year. Another seven national groups have joined in during
the two years it has taken to write this book and more seem to be
arriving all the time. It seems that God has opened the gates of our
own particular meadow, and at times it causes us to rub our eyes in
amazement.
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Population dynamics

Population changes can be tracked by observing births, deaths

,immigration
and emigration

Also need to be able to measure the population size

For mobile organisms, the mark and recapture method is often

used (e.g.,
for Hectors dolphins)

Formula: N = MC/R
N = population

M = marked animals in 1st

sample
C = total captured in 2nd sample

R = number recaptured

Characteristics of populations
Dispersion (Fig. 52.4): clumped, uniform or random

What causes these? Which would you expect to be most


common?

Demographics: Age structure, sex ratio, mortality rates etc.

Some organisms can regulate sex ratio

e.g. two spotted

spider mites

Age structure: can indicate population growth or decline

Life history strategies


How an organism allocates limited resources to survival,
reproduction, migration and other life history characteristics
semelparous (Fig. 53.12): salmon life history

iteroparous: cedar tree

strategies must account for the cost reproduction

Why do populations of snowshoe hares cycle in the Yukon?


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Hypothesis I: food shortage hypothesis

Hypothesis II: predation hypothesis

Feeding experiment cycle continued even with abundant food

Predation causes cycling, but complexworking together with


food shortage shortage reduced reproduction

Often there is a trade-off between number and size of offspring


(cannot have both large and many) e.g., weedy plants vs longlived plants (Fig. 53.14)

Different types of organisms exhibit different different


survivorship curves
(Fig. 52.6)
o Type I: most mortality late in life organisms with most
mortality late in life organisms with good care of offspring
e.g. humans
o Type II: constant mortality e.g. rodents, annual plants
o Type III: many offspring, but little or no parental care
e.g. many invertebrates

Population growth models


exponential: dN/dt = rmaxN

(rate of change in population N, with intrinsic rate of increase rmax


)

e.g., human population growth


Is there a human carrying capacity?

population growth with a carrying capacity = logistic model

logistic (Fig. 53.9): dN/dt = rmaxN((K-N)/K)

(K = carrying capacity)

some real populations exhibit logistic growth, but must be careful


in applying a theoretical model to real situation e.g. fisheries

Population density and population growth

populations strongly influenced by density tend to stay near


K_
e.g., territorial nesting birds, plants at high densities
populations with density independent influences tend to
fluctuate, and seldom reach K
e.g. crabs, insects

Global carrying capacity

No ecological question is more important than the future size of


the human
population Reece et al. p. 1271

Footprint = aggregate land and water area appropriated by


a given nation to produce the resources it consumes and absorb
the waste it generates (or calculated for other units e.g.,
individuals)

Global human footprint too big for the earth

See: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/gfn_sub.php?
content=global_footprint
Numerous websites where you can calculate your own ecological
footprint, e.g.,
http://www.myfootprint.org/
http://www.mec.ca/Main/content_text.jsp?page=ecofootprint&FOLDER
%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302883396