Population

Population:  Fishing for Answers

Today, students learned all about populations. We began by discussing world population and how it has increased from 1 billion to 7 billion people in just over 200 years. Students correctly identified China (1.3 billion) and India (1.2 billion) as the most populous countries in the world.

Students learned about two major concepts in population ecology – carrying capacity and the Tragedy of the Commons.  Carrying capacity is the maximum number of individuals that an area can support without exhausting or depleting the available resources.

We also explored the Tragedy of the Commons in a game where students grouped together in villages that survived by fishing. Inevitably, villagers who caught the maximum number of fish allowed each year ended up not leaving enough fish in the pond to reproduce to provide food for the next year. Villagers starved and villages collapsed until some students realized that if they fished enough to survive, but not enough to deplete the fish resource, the game could continue indefinitely – or as we say in ecology – sustainably – for many generations.

Additional Information:

We watched a great video about population that you can review here. http://www.npr.org/2011/10/31/141816460/visualizing-how-a-population-grows-to-7-billion

Watch this short video to find out more about Tragedy of the Commons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZDjPnzoge0

Additionally, you can look at the world population clock’s real time estimate here http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

 

Previous

Next

Author

Leighann

Leighann Sullivan earned her BS in Biology from Cornell University. For a number of years she taught math, science, and language skills at a secondary school for learning disabled students. She subsequently earned her PhD in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from Rice University. Her dissertation was entitled, “Molecular and Genomic Analyses in Clostridium acetobutylicum.” When not pursuing academic interests she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and experimenting in the culinary arts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.