LabReport - Population Growth Lab Report Introduction The...

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Population Growth Lab Report Introduction The purpose of the lab was to explore the effects of competition of population growth through simulation. In the area of population growth, there is logistic growth, in which a beginning population will at first gradually increase the rate they reproduce. This rate will get much faster so the number of individuals will exponentially increase. However, populations cannot keep up with this drastic rate of growth due to a limited supply of resources needed to support the growing population. When the population nears a certain point, the number of individuals drops drastically and fluctuates back and forth, slowly arriving at the stabilized point. This point in which populations can maximally sustain a certain number of individuals is known as the carrying capacity. Once at the carrying capacity, a population has a hard time increasing the rate in which it reproduces, so the rate of reproduction levels off to zero. This is where the number of individuals born is equal to the number of individuals who die, which leads to a stable number of individuals in a population. An ecological niche describes the range of conditions that are necessary for a species to live. Competition occurs within a group of individuals that share similarities in their niches. The competition that occurs within a species is intra-specific competition, and that which occurs between two or more species within a given space is inter-specific competition. This
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occurs because multiple species may share similar or identical niches, or niche overlap. In the case where there is partial niche overlap, niche differentiation may occur so that both species could evolve to coexist. However, complete niche overlap illustrates the competitive exclusion principle in which two species with identical niches cannot coexist, driving the lesser competitor of the two to extinction. The niche that could potentially be occupied by a species is known as the fundamental niche, while the realized niche is the portion that is actually available to a species. It is often the superior competitor dominates and claims a larger realized niche. The experiment aimed to illustrate these concepts through the creation of two artificial species and the simulation of eating and reproducing. The species were first observed in two separate but identical habitats to show intra-specific competition. The hypothesis was that both species would experience logistic growth; they would exponentially increase in number until they reach carrying capacity, upon which the populations will decrease in number and begin to stabilize around this value. The two species were then placed together to simulate inter-specific competition, and it was
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LabReport - Population Growth Lab Report Introduction The...

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