Population ecology is a major subfield of ecology which deals with the dynamics of populations within species, and the interactions of these populations with environmental factors. The development of the field of population ecology owes much to the science of demography and the use of actuarial life tables.
Population ecology has also played an important role in the development of the field of conservation biology especially in the development of population viability analysis (PVA) which makes it possible to predict the long-term probability of a species persisting in a given habitat patch (e.g., a national park).
While essentially a subfield if biology, population ecology provides many interesting problems for mathematicians and statisticians, which work mainly in the study of population dynamics.
The related term autecology is sometimes used synonymously with the term population ecology.