A common scaling rule for abundance, energetics, and production of parasitic and free-living species

Ryan F. Hechinger, Kevin D. Lafferty, Andrew P. Dobson, James H. Brown, Armand M. Kuris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

The metabolic theory of ecology uses the scaling of metabolism with body size and temperature to explain the causes and consequences of species abundance. However, the theory and its empirical tests have never simultaneously examined parasites alongside free-living species. This is unfortunate because parasites represent at least half of species diversity. We show that metabolic scaling theory could not account for the abundance of parasitic or free-living species in three estuarine food webs until accounting for trophic dynamics. Analyses then revealed that the abundance of all species uniformly scaled with body mass to the -3/4 power. This result indicates "production equivalence," where biomass production within trophic levels is invariant of body size across all species and functional groups: invertebrate or vertebrate, ectothermic or endothermic, and free-living or parasitic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-448
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume333
Issue number6041
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 22 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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