When ecologists speak of population regulation, they are often referring to density-dependent mechanisms. These mechanisms may be a product of the population itself, or a reaction to the population density. For example, a population of voles may increase exponentially until competitive intraspecific interactions cause either the birth rate to decrease or the death rate to increase, leading to a net decline in reproductive rate and subsequent decrease in population density. Alternatively, as the population of voles increases, the population may become more apparent to predators, causing an increase in herbivore consumption and subsequent changes in predator densities.
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