MathBench > Population Dynamics

Mystery of the Missing Housefly

Applet: .... among elephants

When you've been around the block a few times, like I have, you get to noticing things.

Like the elephant in the middle of the room that everyone else is ignoring.

Like the banana peel, just waiting for someone to slip on. And that someone was Ms. Domestica.

Let's give this equation a test drive. In the applet below, YOU play the role of logistic growth. Look at the size of the population, and how many 'slots' are available. Then decide whether the population will grow, stay constant, or crash. Every time you click on the correct button, the applet will calculate the exact growth and display the population for you.

We'll do this three times. In the first model, the highest possible growth rate is pretty low (common among large animals -- like elephants).
On the next page, the highest possible growth rate is moderate (common among smaller animals -- possibly rodents).
On the third page, the highest possible growth rate is high (maybe possible among very small animals such as some insects).



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How would you describe this kind of population growth? Try jotting down a sentence before you click here: