Lionfish Invasion: Density-Dependent Population Dynamics
In this Click & Learn, students explore mathematical models that describe how populations change over time and apply these models to the invasive lionfish population in the Bahamas. They also use data from other species to learn how density-dependent factors limit population size.
The Click & Learn includes realistic and actual data from lionfish and other case studies. It provides opportunities to use the logistic growth model, graph data, and interpret figures from published scientific research.
The accompanying worksheet and “Case Studies Handouts” document guide students’ exploration. Some of the questions in these documents are identical to those embedded in the Click & Learn.
Student Learning Targets
- Describe invasive species and their impacts on ecosystems.
- Define carrying capacity and explain how it relates to density-dependent population growth.
- Use discrete-time and continuous-time logistic equations to model population dynamics.
- Interpret data and graphs to describe how the population growth rate varies with population density in a logistic model.
- Compare realistic field data to projections from models.
- Use data from case studies to explain how various negative density-dependent factors regulate population size.
carrying capacity, growth rate, invasive species, logistic growth, marine biology, mathematical population model, oceanography, population estimate, population regulation
Green, Stephanie J., John L. Akins, Aleksandra Maljković, and Isabelle M. Côté. “Invasive lionfish drive Atlantic coral reef fish declines.” PLoS ONE 7, 3 (2012): e32596. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0032596.
Côté, I. M., and N. S. Smith. “The lionfish Pterois sp. invasion: Has the worst‐case scenario come to pass?” Journal of Fish Biology 92, 3 (2018): 660–689. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.13544.
The resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. No rights are granted to use HHMI’s or BioInteractive’s names or logos independent from this Resource or in any derivative works.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6, SEP2, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
SYI-1.G, SYI-1.H, SYI-3.D; SP1, SP4, SP5
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 3.4, 3.5, 9.8
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-3.E, ERT-3.F, EIN-4.A, SP1, SP2, SP5, SP6
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
ELA.RST.9-12.7; Math.A-SSE.1, Math.F-IF.7, MP2, MP4
Vision and Change (2009)
CC5, DP2, DP3, DP6