Variations in population size

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·        A population is a group of interbreeding individuals of the same species in a habitat.


·        The usual pattern for growth for a natural population has 3 phases:


1)      A period of slow growth as there are only a small number of individuals which reproduce slowly to build up in number.


2)      A period of rapid growth, where the growing population reproduces. The population doubles at each time period. The curve on the graph becomes increasingly steep.


3)      A period where the population growth declines until the population number stays stable. The decline may be due to limiting factors e.g. food or increased predation. The graph will have cyclic fluctuations.


·        Growth in population eventually slows and possibly stops altogether, the population may even diminish. Ultimately the population will reach a constant size. Factors like biotic and abiotic factors affect the


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