The main difference between population and community is that a population is a group of individuals of a particular species living in a particular ecosystem at a particular time whereas a community is a collection of populations living in a particular ecosystem at a particular time. Furthermore, a population consists of a single species while a community consists of several species living together.
Population and community are two levels of classification in ecology. Both describe the groups of individuals living in a particular ecosystem.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Population
– Definition, Features, Interactions
2. What is a Community
– Definition, Features, Interactions
3. What are the Similarities Between Population and Community
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Population and Community
– Comparison of Key Differences
Community, Ecosystem, Exponential Growth, Interspecific Interactions, Intra-Specific Interactions, Logistic Growth, Population, Population Density, Population Distribution, Population Dynamics
What is a Population
A population is a group of individuals of a particular species, living and interbreeding in a defined geographical area at a defined time period. The number of individuals in the population defines the size of the population. Therefore, the size of the population varies over time due to birth, death, immigration, and emigration. Moreover, it increases under favourable environmental conditions and plentiful resources. Here, the ability of a population to increase its size to the maximum amount is called the biotic potential of the population.
Also, the other common terms involving population are population density, population distribution, exponential and logistic growth, and population dynamics. Here, the number of individuals per unit geographical area of a particular population is the population density. On the other hand, population distribution is the location of individuals within a specific area. The two observable types of population growths are exponential growth and logistic growth. The study of the changes in the size, structure, birth rate, growth rate, death rate, and migration rate of a population is known as the population dynamics. Intra-specific competition occurs when the individuals of the population have to compete with each other for the limited resources in the ecosystem.
What is a Community
A community is a group of two or more populations in a particular ecosystem living in a particular time. Though the individuals that belong to the different species interbreed, a number of ecological relationships occur between them within the community called interspecific interactions. This process is known as biocoenosis, the interacting organisms living together in a particular habitat.
Several types of interspecific interactions may occur including interspecific competition, predation, mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, etc. Community structure refers to the organization of the biological community with respect to ecological interactions.
Similarities Between Population and Community
- Population and community are two levels of ecology, consisting of groups of organisms living in a particular ecosystem at a particular time period.
- They comprise the biotic factors.
- Also, both population and community are important while describing the ecological relationships between individuals in a particular ecosystem.
Difference Between Population and Community
A population refers to a group of interbreeding individuals of the same species, isolated from other groups, while a community refers to a group or association of populations of two or more different species occupying the same geographical area and in a particular time. Hence, this is the main difference between population and community.
A group of populations make up a community in a particular ecosystem while a community and the abiotic factors make up an ecosystem.
Size of the Group
Furthermore, a population is a small group in an ecosystem while a community is a large group when compared to a population.
Number of Species Involved
Another major difference between population and community is that a population consists of a single species while a community consists of several species living together.
Morphology and Behavior
Because of the above, all the individuals in a population are morphologically and behaviorally similar while the individuals in a community can be categorized into groups in terms of morphology and behaviour.
Moreover, individuals in a population freely interbreed while interbreeding is absent among the different individuals of a community. Thus, this is another difference between population and community.
Type of Competition
The type of competition attributes to another difference between population and community. Intra-specific competition occurs among the individuals of a population while inter-specific competition occurs among the individuals of a community.
Relationship Between Pray and Predator
There are no pray-predator relationships among individuals in a population while pray-predator relationships occur among individuals in a community.
A population is a group of individuals that belong to a particular species, living in a particular geographical area at a particular time. On the other hand, a community is two or more populations, living in the same geographical area at a particular time. The individuals in a population interbreed while various types of interspecific interactions occur among the individuals in the community. The main difference between population and community is the number of species and the type of interactions.
1. “King Penguins at Salisbury Plain (5719368307)” By Liam Quinn from Canada – King Penguins at Salisbury Plain (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Carabus auratus with prey” By Soebe – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia