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In this video we consider why biologists want to study populations, and how they interact and compete with each other.

Understanding how organisms interact with members of the same species and others is key to implementing effective conservation strategies.

In this video we consider why biologists want to study populations, the things we can learn about them and how we can apply our knowledge of species biology to the implementation of management strategies and conservation efforts that can protect vulnerable species. Our case study in this video focuses on red squirrels, the threat that grey squirrels pose to them, and how we can use our understanding of species interactions and competition to protect red squirrels.

Here are some questions to consider while you’re watching the video. We’d be happy to hear your views after you’ve watched the video.

  • What do you think biologists mean by the term life history traits? Which types of factors do biologists want to investigate to understand the role of an organism in an ecosystem, how it interacts with other organisms and the threats that it faces?

  • The blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) is a common bird found in gardens and woods across the UK and across other parts of the globe. Which organisms might this bird compete with and what might this competition be for?

  • Imagine you are one of the scientists developing a management plan to help conserve the UK’s red squirrel population. What would you suggest doing and why?

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The Biology of Bugs, Brains, and Beasts

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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