Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Austral Ecology 25:4 (August 2000), pp. 305–307; doi: 10.1046/j.1442-9993.2000.01054.x


Copyright © 2000 Ecological Society of Australia; published by Wiley-Blackwell. Used by permission.


The debate between density-dependent and densityindependent population regulation is one of the oldest and most vociferous in ecology. Australian ecologists participated from the beginning (Nicholson 1933; Andrewartha & Birch 1954). Despite recent efforts to put the debate to rest (Turchin 1995, 1999), there appears little likelihood of either side abandoning the ramparts (Bonsall et al. 1998). Murray (2000; this issue) uses a stochastic simulation model to argue that a significant statistical relationship between birth rate and population size (i.e. density dependence) can arise in the absence of negative feedbacks of population size on fecundity. In this comment we demonstrate that Murray’s simulation model has a negative feedback of population density on birth rate embedded in it, so density dependence in birth rate is not a surprising outcome.

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