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Ecological Modeling of Metabolic Rates Predicts Diverging Optima across Food Abundances

Sigurd Einum
The American Naturalist
Vol. 183, No. 3 (March 2014), pp. 410-417
DOI: 10.1086/674951
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/674951
Page Count: 8
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Ecological Modeling of Metabolic Rates Predicts Diverging Optima across Food Abundances
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Abstract

AbstractGenetically based variation in metabolic rates of resting animals (RMR) suggests a potential role for evolutionary adaptations, but mechanistic models yielding evolutionary predictions are lacking. Here I utilize the increasingly recognized genetic correlation between RMR and activity metabolism and propose that optimality of the former is simply an outcome of selection on the latter. I develop a model for temporally stable environmental conditions that describes how the rate of acquisition of energy that can be converted into somatic growth and reproductive output can be expressed as a function of activity metabolism. One of the parameters in the model describes how food intake depends on activity and is hence a measure of food abundance. In contrast to the previously proposed hypothesis that individuals with a high RMR are at an advantage when environmental conditions are favorable, the model predicts that the optimal RMR is highest at an intermediate food abundance.

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