Whereas 'r' is the driver of population growth, so 'K', the carrying capacity of the environment, is the handbrake to limit total population size.
Last August we posted about exponential population growth where a constant rate of population growth, ‘r’, drives bigger and bigger increases in population size to give the classic ‘J’ shaped curve of population size.
While this scenario is usually only theoretical, or reserved for controlled lab experiments, it can be observed in natural populations that grow quickly from a narrow base, such as when a small number of founders colonise a new habitat.
What's in a Name?
The familiar saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" warns about the risks that come with trying to achieve more by challenging the status quo.