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density dependence

Definition

An ecological principle in which a change in the influence of an environmental factor affects population growth as population density changes, for example by tending to retard population growth (by increasing mortality or decreasing fecundity) as density increases. This applies to extensive aquaculture (as in conventional pond culture) or other production systems (for example, rotifer production in marine hatcheries) where productivity largely depends on natural food chains. In commercial intensive aquaculture systems this principle can be partially circumvented by system manipulation as long as it is cost- effective.

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