On the regulation of populations of mammals, birds fish and insects

Richard Sibly, Daniel Barker, Michael Denham, Jim Hone, Mark Pagel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    346 Citations (Scopus)


    A key unresolved question in population ecology concerns the relationship between a population's size and its growth rate. We estimated this relationship for 1780 time series of mammals, birds, fish, and insects. We found that rates of population growth are high at low population densities but, contrary to previous predictions, decline rapidly with increasing population size and then flatten out, for all four taxa. This produces a strongly concave relationship between a population's growth rate and its size. These findings have fundamental implications for our understanding of animals' lives, suggesting in particular that many animals in these taxa will be found living at densities above the carrying capacity of their environments
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)607-610
    Number of pages4
    Issue number5734
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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