Heredity, Natural Selection, and Evolution

Species and Population

Can scientists predict how populations will grow?

Yes, using mathematical models scientists can predict growth when populations are growing at their maximum rates. This happens in two distinct patterns: logistic or exponential growth. In logistic population growth, the population grows in cycles, responding to limiting factors in the environment. An example would be a population of insects that is limited by the amount of available food. Exponential growth is growth at a constant rate of increase per unit of time and is used to model continuous population growth in an unlimited environment. An example of exponential growth would be the doubling rate of bacterial growth on the turkey left unrefrigerated after Thanksgiving dinner.


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