What is the role of population studies in ecology?
How does population effect ecology?
Why do we track population?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Population studies can help determine the state of the ecosystem the species lives in.
For example: If the wolf population is high then it is safe to assume that the wolf is having it's needs met and there isn't much competition (survival of the fittest). Therefore one assumption is that there is an abundance of food (prey and other). Then you would look at their prey populations. If the rabbit, mice, deer populations are low this could be because of so many wolves feeding. From there you can see the balance of the ecosystem. Once the prey populations become too low then the large wolf population will start to decrease and survival will depend on hunting skills, pack placement, etc.
Another example: Fish population size may depend on the lake/stream health. When a lake ecosystem changes and eutrophication occurs then the results are high plant levels, high dangerous bacteria and other harmful substances for fish. This could result in fish loss. Studying the population of fish over time would show if this process may be taking place or if a predator of that particular fish has been introduced into the environment.
Last example: If your rabbit population is high, this could be a sign that the predator populations are low and could result in ecosystem changes such as decreased vegetation. That in turn would result in habitat loss for mice or other rodents living in the bushes, grasses, etc.
Hope this helps. These are just some examples but hopefully it can get your mind thinking of more possibilties (they are endless).