Population vs Community
Population and community are two different levels of biotic assemblages in any ecosystem. These are terms used in ecology, to understand the different ecologically important levels. There are difference characteristics about the two levels and the two should be understood separately in order to identify the difference between those.
Population is a widely used term in many disciplines to refer a closely associated group of one kind. The biological definition for the term population is a group of individuals of the same species living in the same place at a certain time. Since these individuals are of the same species, they usually occupy the same niche in the ecosystem with similar habits and habitats. Usually, the individuals in a certain population do interbreed in order to maintain the population size that ensures successful future generations, and their kind is saved. When it is considered in large-scale, a population could be defined as all the individuals of a particular species living in a large geographical area such as a country.
Populations are subjected to change with time according to the environmental changes. These changes take place in terms of the size of the population, which is the same as the number of individuals in the population. When the conditions favour the organisms, the population size increases and goes down otherwise. The success of a particular population could be determined via studying the change of population sizes over a timescale, which could be weeks, months, seasons, years, or decades. Instead of counting each individual in a population, scientists perform sampling techniques to estimate the population sizes. A population consists of all the genes of a particular species, which means the gene pool is represented in the entity of population.
According to the definition, community is the ecological unit that is composed of a group of organisms in different populations of different species that occupy a particular place at a particular period while interacting with both biotic and abiotic environment. It would be easy to understand when it is introduced as a collection of populations living in a particular place at a given time. A community may consist of different species of animals, plants, and microorganisms. The composition of species in a community differs in different ecosystems; a particular community in a tropical rainforest shows a higher diversity than community in a desert would.
Since it consists of many different populations, there are many habitats as well as many ecological niches. One particular community is composed of thousands of interactions and relationships within and among populations. When two populations live together in a relationship, it could be mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, or synergism. Those basic ecological relationships or associations result in many ways such as both populations are benefitted, one is benefitted and other is suffered, or one benefits while other has no effect. Predation is another very important ecological relationship taken place in a community that results in a death for one party (prey) while the other party (predator) gets food. There are many food chains functioning inside a community those are important for the energy flow inside the entire ecosystem, which is formed as a collection of communities.
What is the difference between Population and Community?
• A population is composed of a single species while a community has more than one population.
• The number of individuals is higher in a community than in a population of the same ecosystem.
• Individuals in a population can breed to produce fertile offspring but not all the individuals in a community.
• Different populations make a community while few communities would make an ecosystem.
Also read the Difference Between Ecosystem and Community