For Discussion

1. Why are big, fierce animals rare?

2. Why do predator-prey interactions often generate cycles or great fluctuations in population densities? Would you expect lynx populations to fluctuate as much as they do if lynx had a variety of abundant prey species available to them?

3. Most organisms whose populations we wish to manage for higher densities are long-lived and have low reproductive rates, whereas most organisms whose populations we attempt to reduce are short-lived, but have high reproductive rates. What is the significance of this difference for management strategies and the effectiveness of management practices?

4. In the mid-nineteenth century, the human population of Ireland was largely dependent upon a single food crop, the potato. When a disease caused the potato crop to fail, the Irish population declined drastically for three reasons: (1) a large percentage of the population emigrated to the United States and other countries; (2) the average age of a woman at marriage increased from about 20 to about 30 years; and (3) many families starved to death rather than accept food from Britain. None of these social changes was planned at the national level, yet all contributed to adjusting the population size to the new carrying capacity. Discuss the ecological principles involved, using examples from other species. What would you have done had you been in charge of the national population policy for Ireland at that time?

5. Because some species introduced to control a pest have become pests themselves, some scientists argue that species introductions should not be used under any circumstances to control pests. Others argue that, provided they are properly researched and controlled, we should continue to use introductions as part of our set of tools for managing pest populations. Which view do you support? Why?

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment