<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
Graph of fecundity as a function of population plots number of eggs per female versus number of worms. The number of eggs decreases rapidly at first, then levels off between 30 to 50 worms.
In this population of roundworms, fecundity (number of eggs) decreases with population density. N.A. Croll et al., “The Population Biology and Control of Ascaris lumbricoides in a Rural Community in Iran.” Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 76, no. 2 (1982): 187-197, doi:10.1016/0035-9203(82)90272-3.

Density-independent regulation and interaction with density-dependent factors

Many factors, typically physical or chemical in nature (abiotic), influence the mortality of a population regardless of its density, including weather, natural disasters, and pollution. An individual deer may be killed in a forest fire regardless of how many deer happen to be in that area. Its chances of survival are the same whether the population density is high or low. The same holds true for cold winter weather.

In real-life situations, population regulation is very complicated and density-dependent and independent factors can interact. A dense population that is reduced in a density-independent manner by some environmental factor(s) will be able to recover differently than a sparse population. For example, a population of deer affected by a harsh winter will recover faster if there are more deer remaining to reproduce.

Evolution connection

Why did the woolly mammoth go extinct?

Photo (a) shows a painting of mammoths walking in the snow. Photo (b) shows a stuffed mammoth sitting in a museum display case. Photo (c) shows a mummified baby mammoth, also in a display case.
The three photos include: (a) 1916 mural of a mammoth herd from the American Museum of Natural History, (b) the only stuffed mammoth in the world, from the Museum of Zoology located in St. Petersburg, Russia, and (c) a one-month-old baby mammoth, named Lyuba, discovered in Siberia in 2007. (credit a: modification of work by Charles R. Knight; credit b: modification of work by “Tanapon”/Flickr; credit c: modification of work by Matt Howry)

It's easy to get lost in the discussion of dinosaurs and theories about why they went extinct 65 million years ago. Was it due to a meteor slamming into Earth near the coast of modern-day Mexico, or was it from some long-term weather cycle that is not yet understood? One hypothesis that will never be proposed is that humans had something to do with it. Mammals were small, insignificant creatures of the forest 65 million years ago, and no humans existed.

Woolly mammoths, however, began to go extinct about 10,000 years ago, when they shared the Earth with humans who were no different anatomically than humans today ( [link] ). Mammoths survived in isolated island populations as recently as 1700 BC. We know a lot about these animals from carcasses found frozen in the ice of Siberia and other regions of the north. Scientists have sequenced at least 50 percent of its genome and believe mammoths are between 98 and 99 percent identical to modern elephants.

It is commonly thought that climate change and human hunting led to their extinction. A 2008 study estimated that climate change reduced the mammoth’s range from 3,000,000 square miles 42,000 years ago to 310,000 square miles 6,000 years ago. David Nogués-Bravo et al., “Climate Change, Humans, and the Extinction of the Woolly Mammoth.” PLoS Biol 6 (April 2008): e79, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060079. It is also well documented that humans hunted these animals. A 2012 study showed that no single factor was exclusively responsible for the extinction of these magnificent creatures. G.M. MacDonald et al., “Pattern of Extinction of the Woolly Mammoth in Beringia.” Nature Communications 3, no. 893 (June 2012), doi:10.1038/ncomms1881. In addition to human hunting, climate change, and reduction of habitat, these scientists demonstrated another important factor in the mammoth’s extinction was the migration of humans across the Bering Strait to North America during the last ice age 20,000 years ago.

The maintenance of stable populations was and is very complex, with many interacting factors determining the outcome. It is important to remember that humans are also part of nature. Once we contributed to a species’ decline using primitive hunting technology only.

Questions & Answers

Part of compound microscope
Bakish Reply
a. body b. stage clip c. adjacent knob d. arm e. eye piece
Kpodo
How do u know when you want to urinate
Akpo Reply
how do you know when you want to urinate
Akpo
I don't know please explain
Coded
As the bladder fills up .. the signals are sent to the brain specifying that its filling up and should be emptied and the fuller it gets, the more signals/ alerts are sent to brain ...leading to the urge to urinate .... to go pee
Khalida
OK thank you
Coded
I want the this ecologycal terms
Catherine Reply
what are enzymes
Alvin Reply
enzymes are organic catalysts which speed the rate of chemical reaction but it's self is not used up in the process
Azeezah
what is fertilization
Ofosu Reply
fusion of male and famele gametes
Biology
fusion of female and male gametes.
Biology
form zygote to eggs
Ahmad
also known as syngamy
RESHMA
why is water called a polar molecule
Jabari Reply
enzyme that not found in mitochondria
Mukesh Reply
Internal carotid arteries
Anjola Reply
A closed circulatory system is a closed-loop system, in which blood is not free in a cavity. Blood is separate from the bodily interstitial fluid and contained within blood vessels. In this type of system, blood circulates unidirectionally from the heart around the systemic circulatory route, and th
Peter Reply
food
Ramatulai
Is DNA a proteins or genetic materials ?
Bisallah
what is meiosis
Ram Reply
meiosis is a reduction Division in which four hapliod off springs are produced
Nandanee
what is electrochemical gradient?
Joneth Reply
what is mitosis?
Aliness Reply
(cytology) the division of cell nucleus in which the genome is copied and separated into two identical halves.it is normally follow by cell division
Adekunle
it Is the division of the mother cell into two daughter cells,genetically identical to each other and to their parent cell
Joneth
it is a study of living organisms
Prudence Reply
What are other types of cell
ATAMA Reply
plant and animal cell
Jessy
prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell
Joneth
meaning inside and outside cells
Joneth
external feature of earthworm
Ajas Reply

Get the best Biology course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Biology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask