Common Ecological Misconceptions





Populations coexist in an ecological system because of their compatible needs and behaviors: they need to get along. Munson 1991
Populations exist in states of either constant growth or decline depending upon their position in a food chain. Munson 1991
Some ecosystems are limitless resources and provide an opportunity for limitless growth of a population. Munson 1991
Populations higher on a food web increase in size because they deplete those lower in the web. Munson 1991, 1994
The relative sizes of prey and predator populations have no bearing on the size of the other. Gallegos et al. 1994
In a food web, a change of size in one population will only affect another population if the two populations are directly related as predator and prey. Gallegos et al. 1994
The number of producers is high to satisfy consumers. Lavoie 1997
Density-dependent factors are biotic, and density-independent factors are abiotic. Lavoie 1997
Populations increase until limits are reached, then they crash and go extinct. McComas 2002
Varying the population size of a species will only affect the others that are directly connected through a food chain. Griffiths & Grant 1985, Munson 1991
Varying the population size of an organism will affect all other organisms to the same degree. Munson 1991
Number of producers (or plants) is large so to satisfy consumers (animals). Leach et al. 1996
More herbivores than carnivores because people keep and breed herbivores. Leach et al. 1996



*Complete references are available on the Resources Page.

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Last Updated: 1/28/15