On the regulation of populations of mammals, birds, fish, and insects

Richard M. Sibly, Daniel Barker, Michael C. Denham, J Hone, M Pagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

291 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A key unresolved question in population ecology concerns the relationship between a population's size and its growth rate. We estimated this relationship for 1780 time series of mammals, birds, fish, and insects. We found that rates of population growth are high at low population densities but, contrary to previous predictions, decline rapidly with increasing population size and then flatten out, for all four taxa. This produces a strongly concave relationship between a population's growth rate and its size. These findings have fundamental implications for our understanding of animals' lives, suggesting in particular that many animals in these taxa will be found living at densities above the carrying capacity of their environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-610
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume309
Issue number5734
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2005

Keywords

  • DENSITY-DEPENDENCE
  • DYNAMICS
  • GROWTH
  • CONSERVATION
  • HERBIVORES
  • PARADIGMS
  • MODELS

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