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Alien Population Growth

December 30, 2012

PopGrowthFor an advanced assignment, my Bio Sci Fi students had to plot the rate of change of this alien population (above) and tell a story of the population. Here are some examples.

(1) “An organism experiencing step-wise growth: The Higleybite. First discovered at Kenyon College, the Higleybite lives in the intestinal tract of Kenyon students experimenting with gluten-free eating. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, encourages the Higleybite and other stomach flora to flourish in the digestive tract. The Higleybites grow at a fast rate while the student eats bread, cake, pretzels–staples of the college diet. When the student stops eating wheat, the Higleybite stops multiplying; but before it can die off, the student abandons the diet and the Higleybites flourish again.”

(2) “On the distant planet Xarthos, a type of beetle named Zeeg evolves. It develops a colony, sustained by a diet of water-dwelling plants. However, after two months of peaceful exponential growth, the Zeeg stops growing, their population stabilized by a giant spider species, called Fellooni. For a while, both Fellooni and Zeeg populations are stable–but then a sickness in the Fellooni kills about half of the Zeeg. With fewer predators, the Zeeg grow exponentially for another two months, until the Fellooni recover and prey on them again.”

(3) “The mutant Ant-Mouse lives in the Acland Apartment. During the first semester of student life, the food left in the kitchen provides a stable resource for the Ant-Mouse, which lives in the walls. The population grows until winter, when the students leave. The Ant-Mouse population stops growing because the students are no longer leaving food around. The Ant-Mouse has to subsist on limited food resources until the students return second semester and bring with them a new stable food supply for the Ant-Mice. The population grows again until summer comes. Then food supply is once again limited and the Ant-Mouse population levels off.”

(4) “A type of tiny pink spider-like aliens live in the middle of daisies. They eat pollen, which is plentiful, but they do not pollinate other plants since they never leave the original flower. They grew and grew until the daisy could not sustain them any more, then the population stopped growing. One day a storm rolled through the meadow and bloew part of the population onto an even bigger daisy. This part of the population grew and grew again until the bigger daisy could hold no more, and then the growth rate evened out.”

What kind of aliens do you think they are?

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