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: Ecological communities consist of small abundant and large non-abundant species. The energetic equivalence rule is an often-observed pattern that could be explained by equal energy usage among abundant small organisms and non-abundant large organisms. To generate this pattern, metabolism (as an indicator of individual energy use) and abundance have to scale inversely with body mass, and cancel each other out. In contrast, the pattern referred to as biomass equivalence states that the biomass of all species in an area should be constant across the body-mass range. In this study, we investigated forest soil communities with respect to metabolism, abundance, population energy use, and biomass. We focused on four land-use types in three different landscape blocks (Biodiversity Exploratories). The soil samples contained 870 species across 12 phylogenetic groups. Our results indicated positive sublinear metabolic scaling and negative sublinear abundance scaling with species body mass. The relationships varied mainly due to differences among phylogenetic groups or feeding types, and only marginally due to land-use type. However, these scaling relationships were not exactly inverse to each other, resulting in increasing population energy use and biomass with increasing body mass for most combinations of phylogenetic group or feeding type with land-use type. Thus, our results are mostly inconsistent with the classic perception of energetic equivalence, and reject the biomass equivalence hypothesis while documenting a specific and nonrandom pattern of how abundance, energy use, and biomass are distributed across size classes. However, these patterns are consistent with two alternative predictions: the resource-thinning hypothesis, which states that abundance decreases with trophic level, and the allometric degree hypothesis, which states that population energy use should increase with population average body mass, due to correlations with the number of links of consumers and resources. Overall, our results suggest that a synthesis of food web structures with metabolic theory may be most promising for predicting natural patterns of abundance, biomass, and energy use.Ecology 02/2014; 95(2):527-37. · 5.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In the context of diversity gradients, the metabolic theory of ecology (MTE) posits that the logarithm of species richness should decrease linearly with the inverse of temperature, resulting in a specific slope. However, the empirical validity of this model depends on whether the data do not violate certain assumptions. Here, we test the predictions of MTE evaluating all of its assumptions simultaneously. We used Neotropical freshwater fish and tested whether the logarithm of species richness varied negatively and linearly with temperature, resulting in the slope value specified by the MTE. As we observed that the assumption of the energetic equivalence of populations was not achieved, we also analyzed whether the energetic nonequivalence of populations could be responsible for the possible lack of fit to the MTE predictions. Our results showed that the relationship between richness and the inverse of temperature was linear, negative and significant and included the slope value predicted by the MTE. With respect to the assumptions, we observed that there was no spatial variation in the average energy flux of populations or in the body size and abundance of species. However, the energetic equivalence of populations was not achieved and the violation of this assumption did not affect the predictive power of the model. We conclude that the validity of the assumptions (spatial invariance in the average flux energy of populations and spatial invariance in the body size and abundance, especially) is required for the correct interpretation of richness patterns. Furthermore, we conclude that MTE is robust in its explanation of diversity gradients for freshwater fish, proving to be a valuable tool in describing ecological complexity from individuals to ecosystems.Ecology 02/2014; 95(2):553-62. · 5.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Soil systems maintain important ecosystem processes crucial for plant life and food production. Especially agricultural systems are strongly affected by climate change due to low vegetation cover associated with high temperatures and drought. Nevertheless, the response of soil systems to climate change is little explored. We used microcosms with a simplified soil community to address effects of climate change using independent temperature and dryness gradients and addressed their effects on top–down control and litter decomposition. The community consisted of maize litter as a basal resource, fungi, springtails and as top predators mites and centipedes. As the body-size structure is of high importance for communities, we included differently-sized springtails and predator species. After seven weeks, the experiment was terminated, and the impact of climate change on direct feeding interactions and indirect effects across trophic levels was analysed. With increasing temperature and dryness, consumption rates increased, thereby amplifying the negative influence of consumer populations on their resources. Hence, these climate-change variables increased the top–down control of 1) predators (mainly mites) on springtails and 2) fungi on litter decomposition. In addition, we found that the climate-change variables strengthened trophic cascades from predators on fungi whose density was thus increasingly decoupled from top–down control by their springtail consumers. Their increased decomposition rates are of high importance for carbon cycling and may result in accelerated nutrient turnover. In conclusion, our results suggest that climate change may strongly influence the structure and functioning of soil systems by strengthening consumption rates and trophic cascades, which will have far reaching consequences for the nutrient turnover and productivity of agricultural ecosystems.Oikos 12/2013; · 3.33 Impact Factor