What money, healthcare, etc. ), dogs have

What does the term ‘biotic potential’ mean? What are the factors that contribute to calculating and comparing the biotic potential of one organism to that of another? In this lesson you will learn the definition of this term as well as some of the ecological phenomena that surround it.

Biotic Potential & Population Limits

If you’ve studied any general biology before viewing this lesson, you probably have heard the word ‘biotic’ before. Biotic means life or living thing. Knowing that ‘biotic’ means life, you might be able to guess the meaning of the term ‘biotic potential’.

Biotic potential is the potential for life, or how fast a species reproduces when not limited by its environment. How does this term apply to organisms? And how can you compare the biotic potential of one organism to another?All living things have needs and certain substances that are required for survival. Examples of these needs include water, shelter, and food or energy.

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The resources available to any specific organism are not infinite in their environment, they are limited. Therefore, anything in an environment that limits the ability of a population to expand is referred to as a limiting factor. Once an environment reaches the maximum number of any one species that it has sufficient resources to support, it is said to have reached its carrying capacity.

Examples of Biotic Potential

Biotic potential ignores both carrying capacity and limiting factors. Biotic potential examines just how fast the population can grow when limits are removed.

To compare the biotic potential of two organisms, you would examine how many offspring the two organisms can produce in a prescribed time frame. The organism that produces the most organisms in that time frame has the most biotic potential.Let’s compare the biotic potential of dogs versus that of humans. The largest number of puppies ever recorded was a litter of 24 born to a dog in 2004. The most human children ever born at once that survived was eight babies, born in 2009. In a year, the average dog can produce two litters, since their gestational period is approximately 65 days. The gestational period for a human female is nine months.

This means a human female can only give birth once in a year. If both organisms produce the maximum recorded number of offspring in a year, a human can only produce eight children. In one year, a dog has the potential to produce 48 offspring. Based on this information, if all restrictive factors were removed (such as food, money, healthcare, etc.

), dogs have more biotic potential than humans.Okay, but humans and dogs are very different. Let’s compare two kinds of pets: dogs and cats.

The largest recorded number of kittens born to a cat was a litter of 19 born in 1970. The most dogs ever born at once was 24. In a year, the average cat can produce a maximum of three litters. Therefore, in one year a cat has the potential to produce 57 offspring. In one year, a dog has the potential to produce 48 offspring.

Based on this information, if all restrictive factors are removed, cats have more biotic potential than dogs.

Lesson Summary

Biotic potential means the potential for life or how fast a species produces offspring when not limited by the environment. Something that limits the ability of a population to continue to grow is referred to as a limiting factor. When an environment reaches the maximum number of any one species that it can support, it has reached its carrying capacity. Biotic potential ignores both carrying capacity and limiting factors.

It examines only how fast the population can grow when limitations are removed. To compare the biotic potential of two organisms, you would examine how many offspring the two organisms can produce in a prescribed time frame. The organism that produces the most organisms in that time frame has the greater biotic potential.

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