Biology 152 Lecture 1 Section 1 Lessons Help Instructor Resources About

Ecology > Population Dynamics


The capacity for growth is a measure of the success of a population of a species. Because there are so many interactions between individuals and the environment, measuring how well populations grow is often complex. Population biologists frequently use mathematical growth models to help them study real populations.

Population models might seem like all theory and math, but they help us understand real ecological systems in simpler terms. They are used for testing theories, making predictions, and for making decisions about managing or conserving populations of many species.

In this lesson, you'll learn more about two widely used population growth models: exponential and logistic.

Image of graph

Are you ready for this lesson?

To use this lesson, you should have:

  • Read the chapter in your textbook on population ecology.
  • Reviewed your lecture notes on population growth
  • A scientific calculator
At any time during this tutorial if you are having difficulties understanding what we mean by r or rmax, you can click the r icon. This will open a pop-up window with a description of r.

Lesson Topics

Click a topic below. We recommend progressing in sequence starting with topic 1.
Topic 1: Exponential Growth Topic 2: Logistic Growth Topic 3: Elephant Population Growth
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