Difference Between Species and Population (With Table)

An ecosystem is a vast biological system that depicts the relationship of all the organisms with their environment. These organisms have varying characteristics, eating habits, physical adaptations etc. These aspects divide them into various species. Every species has its share of organisms, which is known as its population.

Species vs Population

The difference between Species and Population is that species is a group of individuals that are similar to each other in various aspects and interbreed with each other, whereas the population comprises individuals that belong to a particular species in a particular place, at a specific interval of time. A population faces no emergence of different or new species.

Species is a level of taxonomy that is ranked under the genus. It comprises a group of the same type of organisms or individuals who are able to interbreed with each other. The organisms belonging to a species, thereafter, get divided into various genus, family, order, class or kingdom based on their characteristics.

The population is a combination or a whole that consists of organisms belonging to a particular species, their interaction and interbreeding with each other at a specific place and time. The number of individuals in a population keeps on increasing and decreasing according to the environmental, social and physical factors at a certain point in time.

Comparison Table Between Species and Population

Parameters of ComparisonSpeciesPopulation
DefinitionA species is a group of organisms that resemble each other and survive by interbreeding. A population is a group of organisms from the same species who interbreed at a specific time and place.
QuantityIt represents a single individual who becomes the basis. It represents a group of individuals of the same species.
InterbreedingOrganisms belonging to two different species are not able to interbreed with each other. Organisms from two populations of the same species can interbreed.
CharcteristicsA species must always have similar morphology or DNA. A population may or may not have the same cultures, traditions etc.
BasisFelis catus and Equus caballus are two species of animals. Felis catus can have several populations of it all around the world.

What is Species?

Species is the basic level of classification of organisms of the ecosystem. It covers the largest number of organisms alive today. When a group of organisms, similar in their morphology, DNA, environmental behaviour, or adaptation, mate with each other and produce offspring, they are referred to as a species.

Every organism has a biological or scientific name given to it. The name is comprised of two parts. The first part is the genus name, and the second part is the name of the species. A genus can have several species. For example, Panthera tigris is the biological name given to tiger, where Panthera is the genus and Tigris is the species.

The term species originated first in 1859 when Charles Darwin described natural selection. There are various criteria under which a species is formed. Another important part of the species concept is the gene transfer between species.

The concept of species has always been questioned. There have been several cases and situations that tend to make this concept debatable. One of the aspects is the existence of microspecies. It makes it difficult to determine the gene flow within a population of a particular species.

What is Population?

The population is a term associated with species. It is referred to as a group of organisms of the same species who interbreed with each other in a particular place at a certain interval of time. Demography is known as the statistical study of populations.

There are various factors, both external and internal, that keep on affecting the population growth. As a result of which, the population growth at a certain point of time increases decreases or remains constant. Birth, Death and Dispersal are the most common factors affecting population growth. When the environmental conditions become favourable, population growth increases or decreases otherwise.

The ability of a population to hype up its number at the maximum possible rate is known as the biotic potential of the population. Climate, food and water availability, habitat and many other environmental factors are essential for a population to survive. The influence of these factors increases with the increase in population density.

Organisms of a population sustain their livelihood by establishing a symbiotic relationship with others. This further results in competition when two or more populations reside under similar environmental conditions in a particular place. They fight for resources in order to survive and sustain themselves in a particular area.

Main Differences Between Species and Population

  1. A species has organisms similar to each other, while a population has organisms of the same species.
  2. Species represents a single individual, whereas population represents a group of individuals of the same species.
  3. Interbreeding between two populations of the same species is possible, while it is not possible between two different species.
  4. A species must have similar morphology or DNA, but a population may or may not have similarities in values, cultures etc.
  5. A certain species is composed of a similar group of organisms, while the number of populations of a species can be more than one in various regions over a time interval.

Conclusion

Species and population are the basis of classification in an ecosystem. They are regarded as the most basic levels. Both these terms are interrelated and consist of a vast number of organisms under them. All the organisms belonging to a species are similar to each other. A species can have a number of populations.

Environmental factors affect the sustenance of a certain species over a particular area. This results in an increase and decrease in the population density of the species. Interbreeding and cross-breeding are also important factors of a population.

Over time, a populated area undergoes changes in terms of its climatic conditions, food and shelter availability etc. This affects the lifestyle of organisms thriving in that area. Competition, variation, adaptation are some of the aspects that a specific group of organisms has to go through in order to survive.

References

  1. https://www.afs-journal.org/articles/forest/abs/2007/01/f7010/f7010.html?report=reader
  2. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/abs/10.1098/rspb.2001.1922
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