Phylogenetic grouping, curvature and metabolic scaling in terrestrial invertebrates
ABSTRACT For more than a century, the scaling of animal metabolic rates with individual body masses and environmental temperature has predominantly been described by power-law and exponential relationships respectively. Many theories have been proposed to explain these scaling relationships, but were challenged by empirically documented curvatures on double-logarithmic scales. In the present study, we present a novel data set comprising 3661 terrestrial (mainly soil) invertebrate respiration rates from 192 independent sources across a wide range in body masses, environmental temperatures and phylogenetic groups. Although our analyses documented power-law and exponential scaling with body masses and temperature, respectively, polynomial models identified curved deviations. Interestingly, complex scaling models accounting for phylogenetic groups were able to remove curvatures except for a negative curvature at the highest temperatures (>30 °C) indicating metabolic down regulation. This might indicate that the tremendous differences in invertebrate body architectures, ecology and physiology may cause severely different metabolic scaling processes.
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ABSTRACT: The role of body size as a key feature determining the biology and ecology of individual animals, and thus the structure and dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems, has long been acknowledged. Body size provides a functional link between individual-level processes, such as physiology and behavior, with higher-level ecological processes such as the strength and outcome of trophic interactions, which regulate the flow of energy and nutrients within and across ecosystems. Early ecological work on size in animals focused on vertebrates, and especially mammals. More recent focus on invertebrates, and insects in particular, that spans levels of organization from physiology to communities, has greatly expanded and improved our understanding of the role of body size in ecology. Progress has come from theoretical advances, from the production of new, high-resolution empirical data sets, and from enhanced computation and analytical techniques. Recent findings suggest that many of the allometric concepts and principles developed over the last century also apply to insects. But these recent studies also emphasize that while body size plays a critical role in insect ecology, it is not the entire story, and a fuller understanding must come from an approach that integrates both size and non-size effects. In this review we discuss the core principles of a size-based (allometric) approach in insect ecology, together with the potential of such an approach to connect biological processes and mechanisms across levels of organization from individuals to ecosystems. We identify knowledge gaps, particularly related to size constraints on insect movement and behavior, which can impact the strength and outcome of species interactions (and especially trophic interactions) and thus link individual organisms to communities and ecosystems. Addressing these gaps should facilitate a fuller understanding of insect ecology, with important basic and applied benefits.
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ABSTRACT: A common, long-held belief is that metabolic rate drives the rates of various biological, ecological and evolutionary processes. Although this metabolic pacemaker view (as assumed by the recent, influential ‘metabolic theory of ecology’) may be true in at least some situations (e.g. those involving moderate temperature effects or physiological processes closely linked to metabolism, such as heartbeat and breathing rate), it suffers from several major limitations, including: (i) it is supported chiefly by indirect, correlational evidence (e.g. similarities between the body-size and temperature scaling of metabolic rate and that of other biological processes, which are not always observed) – direct, mechanistic or experimental support is scarce and much needed; (ii) it is contradicted by abundant evidence showing that various intrinsic and extrinsic factors (e.g. hormonal action and temperature changes) can dissociate the rates of metabolism, growth, development and other biological processes; (iii) there are many examples where metabolic rate appears to respond to, rather than drive the rates of various other biological processes (e.g. ontogenetic growth, food intake and locomotor activity); (iv) there are additional examples where metabolic rate appears to be unrelated to the rate of a biological process (e.g. ageing, circadian rhythms, and molecular evolution); and (v) the theoretical foundation for the metabolic pacemaker view focuses only on the energetic control of biological processes, while ignoring the importance of informational control, as mediated by various genetic, cellular, and neuroendocrine regulatory systems. I argue that a comprehensive understanding of the pace of life must include how biological activities depend on both energy and information and their environmentally sensitive interaction. This conclusion is supported by extensive evidence showing that hormones and other regulatory factors and signalling systems coordinate the processes of growth, metabolism and food intake in adaptive ways that are responsive to an organism's internal and external conditions. Metabolic rate does not merely dictate growth rate, but is coadjusted with it. Energy and information use are intimately intertwined in living systems: biological signalling pathways both control and respond to the energetic state of an organism. This review also reveals that we have much to learn about the temporal structure of the pace of life. Are its component processes highly integrated and synchronized, or are they loosely connected and often discordant? And what causes the level of coordination that we see? These questions are of great theoretical and practical importance.Biological Reviews 05/2015; 90(2):377-407. · 9.79 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: 1.Human activities may compromise biodiversity if external stressors such as nutrient enrichment endanger overall network stability by inducing unstable dynamics. However, some ecosystems maintain relatively high diversity levels despite experiencing continuing disturbances.2.This indicates that some intrinsic properties prevent unstable dynamics and resulting extinctions. Identifying these “ecosystem buffers” is crucial for our understanding of the stability of ecosystems and an important tool for environmental and conservation biologists. In this vein, weak interactions have been suggested as stabilizing elements of complex systems, but their relevance has rarely been tested experimentally.3.Here, using network and allometric theory we present a novel concept for a-priori identification of species that buffer against externally induced instability of increased population oscillations via weak interactions. We tested our model in a microcosm experiment using a soil food-web motif.4.Our results show that large-bodied species feeding at the food web's base, so called ‘trophic whales’, can buffer ecosystems against unstable dynamics induced by nutrient enrichment. Similar to the functionality of chemical or mechanical buffers, they serve as ‘biotic buffers’ that take up stressor effects and thus protect fragile systems from instability.5.We discuss trophic whales as common functional building blocks across ecosystems. Considering increasing stressor effects under anthropogenic global change, conservation of these network-intrinsic biotic buffers may help maintain the stability and diversity of natural ecosystems.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.Journal of Animal Ecology 11/2014; 84(3). DOI:10.1111/1365-2656.12324 · 4.73 Impact Factor