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Academic & Professional Books  Ecology  Population & Community Ecology

Introduction to Population Ecology

Textbook Out of Print
By: Larry L Rockwood(Author)
339 pages, 235 illus
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Introduction to Population Ecology
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  • Introduction to Population Ecology ISBN: 9781405132633 Paperback Jan 2006 Out of Print #153426
About this book Contents Biography Related titles Recommended titles

About this book

New textbook, aiming to be an accessible and up-to-date textbook covering all aspects of population ecology.

Coverage includes: discussion of field and laboratory data to illustrate the fundamental laws of population ecology; overview of how population theory has developed; explores single-species population growth and self-limitation; metapopulations; and a broad range of interspecific interactions including parasite-host, predator-prey, and plant-herbivore.

Aims to keep the mathematics as simple as possible, using a careful step-by-step approach and including graphs and other visual aids to help understanding.


Concise table of contents:

Mathematical Symbols Used

Part I: Single Species Populations
1. Density Independent Growth
2. Density Dependent Growth and Intraspecific Competition
3. Population Regulation
4. Populations with Age Structures
5. Metapopulation Ecology

Part II: Interspecific Interactions
6. Life History Strategies
7. Interspecific Competition
8. Mutualism
9. Host-Parasite Interactions
10. Predator/Prey Interactions
11. Plant-Herbivore Interactions

Appendix 1: Exercises
Appendix 2: Matrix Algebra: the Basics

Detailed table of contents:


Mathematical Symbols Used.

Part I: Single Species Populations.

1. Density Independent Growth.


Fundamentals of Population Growth.

Types of Models.

Density Independent vs. Density Dependent Growth.

Discrete or “Geometric” Growth in Populations with Non-overlapping Generations.

Exponential Growth in Populations with Overlapping Generations.

Exponential Growth in an Invasive Species.

Applications to Human Populations.

The Finite Rate of Increase and the Intrinsic Rate of Increase.

Stochastic Models of Population Growth and Population Viability Analysis.


2. Density Dependent Growth and Intraspecific Competition.


Density Dependence in Populations with Discrete Generations.

Density Dependence in Populations with Overlapping Generations.

Nonlinear Density Dependence of Birth and Death Rates and the Allee Effect.

Time Lags and Limit Cycles.

Chaos and Behavior of the Discrete Logistic Model.

Adding Stochasticity to Density Dependent Models.

Laboratory and Field Data.

Behavioral Aspects of Intraspecific Competition.


3. Population Regulation.


What is Population Regulation?.

Combining Density Dependent and Density Independent Factors.

Tests of Density Dependence.


4. Populations with Age Structures.




Mortality Curves.

Expectation of Life.

Net Reproductive Rate, Generation Time and the Intrinsic Rate of Increase.

Age Structure and the Stable Age Distribution.

Projecting Population Growth in Age Structured Populations.

The Leslie or Population Projection Matrix.

A Second Version of the Leslie Matrix.

The Lefkovitch Modification of the Leslie Matrix.

Dominant Latent Roots and the Characteristic Equation.

Reproductive Value.


5. Metapopulation Ecology.


Metapopulations and Spatial Ecology.

MacArthur and Wilson and the Equilibrium Theory.

The Levins or Classical Metapopulation.

Extinction in Metapopulations.

Metapopulation Dynamics of Two Local Populations.

Source-Sink Metapopulations and the Rescue Effect.

Non-equilibrium and Patchy Metapopulations.

Spatially Realistic Models.

Minimum Viable Metapopulation Size.

Assumptions and Evidence for the Existence of Metapopulations in Nature.


6. Life History Strategies.


Power Laws.

The Metabolic Theory of Ecology.

Cole and Lewontin.

The theory of r- and K-selection.

Cost of Reproduction and Allocation of Energy.

Clutch Size.

Latitudinal gradients in Clutch Size.

Predation and its Effects on Life History Characteristics.

Bet Hedging.

The Grime General Model for Three Evolutionary Strategies in Plants.


Part II: Interspecific Interactions.

7. Interspecific Competition.


Interspecific Competition: Early Experiments and the Competitive Exclusion Principle.

The Lotka-Volterra Competition Equations.

Laboratory Experiments and Competition.

Resource Based Competition Theory.

Spatial Competition and the Competition-Colonization Trade-off.

Evidence for Competition From Nature.

Indirect Evidence for Competition and "Natural Experiments".


8. Mutualism.


Modeling Mutualism.


9. Host-Parasite Interactions.


Factors Affecting Microparasite Population Biology.

Modeling Host-Microparasite Interactions.

Dynamics of the Disease.


Endangered Metapopulations and Disease.

Social Parasites.


10. Predator/Prey Interactions.


The Lotka Volterra Equations.

Early Tests of the Lotka-Volterra Models.

Functional Responses.

Adding Prey Density Dependence and the Type II and III Functional.

Responses to the Lotka Volterra Equations.

The Graphical Analyses of Rosenzweig and MacArthur.

Use of a Half Saturation Constant in Predator/Prey Interactions.

Parasitoid/Host Interactions and the Nicholson-Bailey Models.

Section Summary.

Field Studies.

Trophic Cascades.

The Dangers of a Predatory Lifestyle.

Escape from Predation.


11. Plant-Herbivore Interactions.


Classes of Chemical Defenses.

Constitutive vs. Induced Defense.

Plant Communication.

Plant-Parasitoid Communication.

A Classic Set of Data Reconsidered.

Novel Defenses/Herbivore Responses.

Detoxification of Plant Compounds by Herbivores.

Plant Apparency and Chemical Defense.

Soil Fertility and Chemical Defense.

The Optimal Defense Theory.

Modeling Plant-Herbivore Population Dynamics.



Appendix 1: Exercises.

Appendix 2: Matrix Algebra: the Basics.


Customer Reviews


Larry L. Rockwood is Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University, Virginia. He received his B.S. degree in Biopsychology from the University of Chicago, where he also completed his doctoral research on the foraging patterns of leaf-cutting ants. He has taught courses in population ecology for 30 years.

Textbook Out of Print
By: Larry L Rockwood(Author)
339 pages, 235 illus
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Media reviews

"Budding ecologists will be enthused by possibilities amongst the wealth of empirical studies that Rockwood draws on to inform our conceptual understanding of population ecology [...] This is a most satisfyingly accessible study guide for all students with a serious commitment to population ecology, and an essential reference for any researchers and teachers interested in the interactions of populations with their environments."
- Environmental Conservation

"This is refreshing because so many population biology books seem content to dwell upon the mathematical satisfaction that can be derived from elegant models. Some of Rockwell's chapters, such as the one on metapopulations, send the reader to a selection of case studies illustrating the application of a particular concept or model. This enables the student to compare theory with actuality and thereby assess the theory more critically. In this respect, it is truly a text of population ecology rather than just population biology."
- Bulletin of the British Ecological Society

"Introduction of Population Ecology is an accessible and up-to-date textbook covering all aspects of population ecology [...] This text is an essential introduction to population ecology, including those with little mathematical experience."
- Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment

"This is an eminently readable text ideal for a University audience and would not be out of place in a school library to extend able students."
- Journal of Biological Education

"Written clearly and succinctly for beginners, [this] exciting and well-presented book also has practical implications for policy makers, conservationists [...] and stewards of the natural habitat."
- Northeastern Naturalist

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