Can someone list the four properties that scientists use to predict population sizes? Also, include the definition of each of the properties. Define the type of scientists that study populations.
- Anonymous9 years agoFavorite Answer
In the context of environmental scientists the majority would study (at one time of the other) populations.
Be it a population of a particular plant, fauna, or other organism species.
Population sizes would be modelled based on statistically signficant variables. These may include:
- current population species
- genetic diversity (e.g. cheetahs have a low genetic diversity, however they have evolved to minimise the effect this has on birth defects, however low genetic diversity typically makes a population less resislent to viruses)
- habitat fragmentation/contiguity (i.e. can the population move to other habitats, either for breeding, migration, feeding, or because of loss of habitat)
- climate (and perhaps climate change) (e.g. if temperatures warm will the populations increase/decrease, if rainfall declines will the species persist - especially important for plant populations - also could be a factor if fires are a related side effect, as many species have evolved to a particular fire regime and changes in this fire regime may affect populations)
- movement of species/migration (is there movement between different populations of the species)
- threats to habitat (including where they breed, eat, sleep etc.)
- topography (e.g. elevation, aspect, terrain) (I did a study on predicted the distribution of a tree species, and statistically topography was important, as the species was able to outcompete other species at a higher attitude and the inverted tree line also limited the species population)
- influence of predators or competition (e.g. if fox populations are modelled to increase the rabbit population could be modelled to have a short-term decline)
- influence of introduced species (e.g. cane toad populations have decimated many native predators in Queensland, if the cane toad populations increase in Western Australia you may have to model a decline in native predator populations).
I am sure there are many more (most of those I have listed would predominantly be for terrestial populations). Would imagine for aquatic populations chemical composition, water temperature, contaminants, etc etc woud all need to be investigated to determine statisitcally signficant variables in determining population sizes for the future.