Abundance-body size relationships: the roles of metabolism and population dynamics

Hannah M. Lewis, Richard Law, Alan J. McKane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. Species' abundance scales approximately as an inverse power of body mass. This property has been explained on the basis of metabolic rates of organisms of different sizes.

2. This paper considers the additional effect of population dynamics on the abundance-body size relationship, on the grounds that mass flow through food webs also depends on interactions between predators and their prey. To do this, an analysis of simple dynamical food-chain models was carried out, using rate parameters which scaled with body mass according to empirically based rules.

3. The analysis shows that a function for the abundance-body size relationship derived from metabolic theory is a good first approximation to a function derived for food chains at dynamic equilibrium, although the mechanistic interpretation of terms in the functions is not the same.

4. The results are sensitive to assumptions about the scaling of the self-limitation of basal species with respect to body size. Depending on the assumption made, the abundance-body size relationship may have a power parameter -1 at all trophic levels, or be described by different functions at different trophic levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1062
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume77
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008

Keywords

  • abundance-mass scaling
  • energetic equivalence rule
  • linear biomass hypothesis
  • metabolic theory
  • ENERGETIC EQUIVALENCE RULE
  • FOOD WEBS
  • MARINE ECOSYSTEMS
  • SPECIES ABUNDANCE
  • DENSITY
  • MODEL
  • SPECTRA
  • ECOLOGY
  • BIOMASS
  • MASS

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