Population Homeostasis

Christopher J. Paradise and A. Malcolm Campbell

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This book will synthesize the concepts of selection against individuals in response to environmental change to illustrate how selection against individuals results in homeostasis at the population level. For instance, selection against the light phenotype of the peppered moth during the early part of the industrial revolution led to an increase of the dark phenotype, which was better camouflaged against the soot that accumulated on tree bark as a result of burning coal. Populations are shown to be regulated by feedback mechanisms, several of which are discussed here. Populations are regulated by extrinsic factors, such as competition and predation, and that lead to changes in intrinsic factors, such as reproduction. Changes in population density often lead to initiation of feedback mechanisms, such as changes in birth or death rates. In a final example, pollutants are shown to be a factor that can disrupt homeostasis of populations. In particular, populations of top predators, such as raptors, have suffered due to biomagnification of toxins.

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Christopher J. Paradise

Christopher J. Paradise is professor of biology and environmental studies at Davidson College. He teaches introductory biology, ecology, entomology, and topical seminars on ecotoxicology and renewable natural resources. He also occasionally leads a study abroad program in India.  His research evaluates anthropogenic factors that influence insect biodiversity at a variety of scales.  His current research interests include effects of land use patterns on pollinator communities in parks.

A. Malcolm Campbell

A. Malcolm Campbell teaches biology at Davidson College, NC. He received national and international education awards: Genetics Society of America (2013); American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012); and American Society for Cell Biology (2006). He was the founding co-editor in chief of CBE Life Sciences Education; founding director of Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT); and member of the American Society for Cell Biology governing council (2012–2014).