Factors Affecting Biotic Potential - Population Growth
Biotic potential differs from one species to another e.g., bacterial populations can grow faster than population of oak trees. The rate of reproduction of any individual can be increased in any or all of three following ways:
Of these three factors, the last one is most important. Let us take an example to understand this. A bacterium neither lives for a long time nor produces many offsprings each time it reproduces. Its reproductive potential is higher than that of a dog because most bacteria can reproduce within an hour after being formed by cell division, whereas a dog is not able to reproduce until it is at least 6 months old. So we can say that shorter the generation time of a species, the higher its reproductive potential. In case of organisms with equal generation time, the number of offsprings produced determines which has higher potential for population growth. Thus the population of a plant that produces 100 seeds a year can potentially grow faster than the population of a plant that produces 10 seeds a year. However, with longer pre-reproductive period, number of offsprings produced does not affect much the biotic potential of a population.