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The Scaling of Abundance in Consumers and Their Resources: Implications for the Energy Equivalence Rule

Chris Carbone, J. Marcus Rowcliffe, Guy Cowlishaw and Nick J. B. Isaac
The American Naturalist
Vol. 170, No. 3 (September 2007), pp. 479-484
DOI: 10.1086/519858
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/519858
Page Count: 6
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The Scaling of Abundance in Consumers and Their Resources: Implications for the Energy Equivalence Rule
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Abstract

Abstract: The negative scaling of plant and animal abundance with body mass is one of the most fundamental relationships in ecology. However, theoretical approaches to explain this phenomenon make the unrealistic assumption that species share a homogeneous resource. Here we present a simple model linking mass and metabolism with density that includes the effects of consumer size on resource characteristics (particle size, density, and distribution). We predict patterns consistent with the energy equivalence rule (EER) under some scenarios. However, deviations from EER occur as a result of variation in resource distribution and productivity (e.g., due to the clumping of prey or variation in food particle size selection). We also predict that abundance scaling exponents change with the dimensionality of the foraging habitat. Our model predictions explain several inconsistencies in the observed scaling of vertebrate abundance among ecological and taxonomic groups and provide a broad framework for understanding variation in abundance.

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