The term population has a variety of meanings.
"Population" in biology
The 2015 peer reviewed book The Nature of Race stated that:
"Biological race is not synonymous with "biological population." In biology, a “population” is frequently loosely defined as, for example, “all the members of a species that occupy a particular area at the same time” (Wells, Richmond, and Milo, 1995) or “a group of conspecific individuals inhabiting a given area” (Camus and De Ciencias, 2002). Waples and Gaggiotti (2006) provide a representative sample of definitions, shown below in Table 2.2.
It is readily obvious that many of these groupings do not necessarily describe classes where individuals are arranged by overall genetic similarity. And it is readily obvious that members of the same race do not need to “occupy a particular area at the same time.” As discussed above, one of the purposes of the race concept was to explain why transplanted organisms, ones moved to a different location, retained and transmitted across generations their region of origin characters.
Table 2.2. Population definitions given by Waples and Gaggiotti (2006)
- 1. Ecological Paradigm
- A group of organisms of the same species occupying a particular space at a particular time.
- A group of individuals of the same species that live together in an area of sufficient size that allrequirements for reproduction, survival and migration can be met.
- A group of organisms occupying a specific geographical area or biome.
- A set of individuals that live in the same habitat patch and therefore interact with each other.
- A group of individuals sufficiently isolated that immigration does not substantially affect the population dynamics or extinction risk over a 100-year time frame.
- 2. Evolutionary Paradigm
- A community of individuals of a sexually reproducing species within which matings take place.
- A major part of the environment in which selection takes place.
- A group of conspecific organisms that occupy a more or less well-defined geographical region and exhibit reproductive continuity from generation to generation.
- A group of individuals of the same species living close enough together than any member of the group can potentially mate with any other member.
- 3. Statistical Paradigm
- An aggregate about which we want to draw inference by sampling.
- The totality of individual observations about which inferences are to be made, existing within aspecified sampling area limited in space and time.
While races are biological populations in some sense clearly not all populations are races, nor are all races spatially defined populations. There is, of course, an obvious probabilistic causal relationship between being a spatial population, a deme, and a race."
- John Fuerst. (2015). "The Nature of Race". Submitted: December 25, 2014. Published: June 18, 2015. Open Behavioral Genetics. http://openpsych.net/OBG/2015/06/the-nature-of-race/ CC BY-NC https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/