The paper briefly surveys topics covered by the IAWQ Specialist Group on Activated Sludge Population Dynamics. The activated sludge population dynamics has been formulated as a branch of water science and technology concerned with phenomena governing the relationships between activated sludge microorganisms and their functions. The characterization of organic pollution fractions in wastewaters according to their rate of biodegradation has been discussed and the role of wastewater as an inoculum stressed. The characterization of activated sludge biomass has been evaluated from two viewpoints: grouping according to metabolic abilities and identification and classification of activated sludge microorganisms. The basic selection mechanisms influencing the microbial composition of activated sludge have been described. The problems with activated sludge settling and thickening properties have been mentioned as a typical example of applied population dynamics research.