Chapter 2. Population Dynamics and Community Structure in Freshwater Ecosystems


Didem Gökçe, PhD
Limnology Research Laboratory, Department of Biology, İnönü University, Malatya, Turkey

Chapter DOI: 10.52305/UPXB6301
Part of the Book: Advances in Environmental Research. Volume 92


Population ecology is a crucial concept that reflects relationships between organisms and the quantity and quality of habitat. Different species as well as their populations living in different habitats have various physiological requirements. Therefore, they exhibit different reactions when physical and chemical environmental conditions change. Environmental resistance influences species and populations in natural ecosystems in two important factors: density-dependent factors (abundance, competition, predation, fecundity-natality, mortality) and density-independent factors (anthropogenic pollution, climatic factors). Aquatic ecosystems are important because they are habitats for organisms and provide physiological regulation. Water quality is a major factor regulating population size. Accordingly, variations occur in temporal and spatial population dynamics. The quality and quantity of the populations forming the community are also crucial factors that indicate the quality of the environment. Qualitative and quantitative population dynamics in the community are a significant factor that reflects the environmental quality. For this reason, they are also considered as aquatic indicators. Environmental resistance to limiting factors influences reproduction rate, lifespan, and mortality rate; thus, population growth is affected. Population dispersal occurs along with the effect of environmental resistance based on heterogeneous areas (microhabitats) in the ecosystem. When resources are unlimited, the population can grow exponentially and its size increases at a greater rate. However, logistic growth is common on protozoa, plankton, and fish in the freshwater ecosystem rather than exponential growth. The population dynamics and life history strategies of freshwater organisms, as well as interactions between these structures and water quality are discussed in this chapter.

Keywords: aquatic ecology, seasonal variations, population dynamics, reproduction, life table


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