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carrying capacity

noun, Ecology
1.
the maximum, equilibrium number of organisms of a particular species that can be supported indefinitely in a given environment.
Abbreviation: K.
Origin
1880-1885
1880-85
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for carrying capacity
  • By increasing the carrying capacity of fiber-optic cable, this company may yet revolutionize the world's networks.
  • The carrying capacity of transmission cables depends on how hot they can get.
  • The main virtue of this alternate means of transportation is that its increased cargo carrying capacity.
  • Particularly in an age of cloud storage, that kind of carrying capacity is more of a novelty than it is a necessity.
  • We're animals that vastly overshot our environment's carrying capacity, so we're facing an inevitable population reduction.
  • This, of course, is impossible-the carrying capacity of the planet is finite and will eventually be reached.
  • As stated earlier, the limiting factor has less to do with population density that it does with carrying capacity.
  • Water's enormous heat-carrying capacity allows the atmosphere and ocean currents to balance global temperatures.
  • The population size of such species grows more slowly and tends to stabilize around the carrying capacity.
  • It is also meaningless to point to the area of a nation alone to determine its carrying capacity.
British Dictionary definitions for carrying capacity

carrying capacity

noun
1.
(ecology) the maximum number of individuals that an area of land can support, usually determined by their food requirements
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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carrying capacity in Science
carrying capacity
  (kār'ē-ĭng)   
The maximum population of a particular organism that a given environment can support without detrimental effects.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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carrying capacity in Culture

carrying capacity definition


In ecology, the number of living things that can exist for long periods in a given area without damaging the environment.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for carrying capacity

the average population density or population size of a species below which its numbers tend to increase and above which its numbers tend to decrease because of shortages of resources. The carrying capacity is different for each species in a habitat because of that species' particular food, shelter, and social requirements.

Learn more about carrying capacity with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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