Populations: Fish and People

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 learned that China (1.3 billion) and India (1.2 billion) are the most populous countries in the world.  Students learned about a major concepts in population ecology – the Tragedy of the Commons.  The Tragedy of the Commons is the theory that individual users of a shared resource will act according to their own self-interest and the group of users will thus deplete the resource.

We 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


Ecología de Poblaciones: La Pesca de Respuestas

Hoy los estudiantes aprendieron sobre la Ecología de Poblaciones. La clase comenzó con una discusión de cómo la población mundial ha aumentado de mil millones a siete mil millones en solo 200 años. Los estudiantes identificaron que China (mil trescientos millones) e India (mil doscientos millones) son los países del mundo con la mayor cantidad de población.

Los alumnos también aprendieron sobre dos conceptos importantes: la capacidad de carga y la Tragedia de los Comunes. La capacidad de carga es el número máximo de individuos que un área puede soportar sin agotar los recursos disponibles.  Aprendimos sobre la Tragedia de los Comunes a través de un juego donde los estudiantes formaron grupos que representaban aldeas que viven de la pesca. De manera inevitable, los aldeanos que pescaron el número máximo  permitido de peces cada año, no dejaron suficientes peces en la laguna para que éstos se pudieran reproducir y por tanto se quedaron sin peces para el año siguiente. Los aldeanos se murieron de hambre y las aldeas colapsaron; hasta que algunos estudiantes se dieron cuenta que si pescaban con el fin de sobrevivir, sin agotar los recursos pesqueros, el juego podía continuar indefinidamente. Este concepto en ecología se conoce como sustentabilidad.

Información adicional:

Vimos un gran video sobre la población, el cual Usted puede mirar aquí:


Revisa este corto para informarte sobre la Tragedia de los Comunes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZDjPnzoge0



Dr. Maureen Griffin

Maureen earned a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. While at Penn, she developed a novel micro-mechanical technique called micropipette peeling to investigate the role of muscle cell adhesion in normal and diseased skeletal muscle cells. After graduating, Maureen worked full time as a post-doctoral researcher and then a staff scientist a SelectX Pharmaceuticals. She joined the teaching staff in 2008 and was excited to be made an executive staff member in 2009. Maureen also continued to consult part time for SelectX until her daughter's birth in 2009; now she is focused on Science from Scientists and, of course, her children. Maureen uses her spare time to read, blog, cook, and renovate her house.

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