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Population Ecology

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Population Ecology. Predator-Prey Population Dynamics. Let’s look at the relationship between fox and rabbit populations. Fox-Rabbit Populations. As the fox ( predator ) population increases, the rabbit ( prey ) population decreases. Fox-Rabbit Populations.

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predator prey population dynamics

Predator-Prey Population Dynamics

Let’s look at the relationship between fox and rabbit populations.

fox rabbit populations


As the fox (predator) population increases, the rabbit (prey) population decreases.

fox rabbit populations4


Fewer rabbits leads to fewer foxes.

fox rabbit populations5


But, fewer foxes leads to an increase in the rabbit population, starting the cycle all over again.

lynx hare populations


Another example can be seen in the relationship between lynx and hare populations.

wolf moose populations


Look for the relationship between the wolf and moose populations.

predator prey relationship


Regardless of the species, predator-prey populations are always linked.

so what

So What?

The number of organisms in any population cannot increase forever.

human population increase by year

Human PopulationIncreaseby Year

<1 billion for 100,000+ years1 billion ~18502 billion ~19303 billion ~19604 billion ~19755 billion ~19896 billion ~20006.7 billion today10 billion ~2050

human population since 1750

Human Population Since 1750

Millions of People


human population since 1950

Human Population Since 1950

Millions of People


unsustainable growth

Unsustainable Growth

The number of organisms in any population cannot increase forever.

but humans don t have predators

But Humans Don’t Have Predators!

True. We’re on top of the food chain.

So what’s our “prey”?

what humans depend on

What Humans Depend On

What do we depend on to survive?

What could cause our population to decline?

human impacts on ecosystems

Human Impacts on Ecosystems

And … since our population is increasing at a breakneck pace, what impacts do we have on ecosystems around the world?