Brose, U. et al. Consumer-resource body-size relationships in natural food webs. Ecology 87, 2411-2417

Institute of Law and Social Sciences, Hohenheim University, Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Ecology (Impact Factor: 4.66). 11/2006; 87(10):2411-2417. DOI: 10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[2411:CBRINF]2.0.CO;2
Source: PubMed


It has been suggested that differences in body size between consumer and resource species may have important implications for interaction strengths, population dynamics, and eventually food web structure, function, and evolution. Still, the general distribution of consumer-'resource body-size ratios in real ecosystems, and whether they vary systematically among habitats or broad taxonomic groups, is poorly understood. Using a unique global database on consumer and resource body sizes, we show that the mean body-size ratios of aquatic herbivorous and detritivorous consumers are several orders of magnitude larger than those of carnivorous predators. Carnivorous predator-prey body-size ratios vary across different habitats and predator and prey types (invertebrates, ectotherm, and endotherm vertebrates). Predator-prey body-size ratios are on average significantly higher (1) in freshwater habitats than in marine or terrestrial habitats, (2) for vertebrate than for invertebrate predators, and (3) for invertebrate than for ectotherm vertebrate prey. If recent studies that relate body-size ratios to interaction strengths are general, our results suggest that mean consumer-resource interaction strengths may vary systematically across different habitat categories and consumer types.

Download full-text


Available from: Neo Martinez
    • "If the prey is small enough to be consumed by the primary predator, secondary predation by birds is a possibility , but if the prey is found to be too large to have been consumed by the primary predator, secondary predation can be ruled out. The rationale of this approach is that consumers are usually larger than their prey species (Brose et al. 2006). So if one can estimate the size of the prey species found in a bird's gut sample, the predator–prey size ratios can be calculated. "

    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Ibis
    • "Many studies have demonstrated body size–trophic level linkages (e.g. Cohen et al. 2003; Thierry et al. 2011), and in particular that, in general, increases in prey body size enhance the ability of predators to capture prey (Woodward et al. 2005; Brose et al. 2006). In the Scioto River system, larger-bodied aquatic insects feeding at least in part on benthic algae are likely to be contributing to spider nutrition. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Development and agriculture are increasingly encroaching into riparian areas, with largely unknown effects on nearshore arthropods, which are important components of linked aquatic–terrestrial food webs. To assess the environmental determinants of the distribution and trophic dynamics of riparian spiders of the family Tetragnathidae, we characterised riparian habitat, collected emergent aquatic insects, and surveyed spiders in developed and rural landscapes of the Scioto River system, Ohio, USA, which provided a range of riparian land cover, nearshore vegetation types and habitat complexity. We also estimated the trophic position (TP) of Tetragnathidae and the proportion of energetic and nutritional subsidies derived from benthic algae (EBA) using naturally abundant carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stable isotopes. Model-selection results revealed that tetragnathid spider density (1.57–3.80 individuals m–1) was more sensitive to differences in overhanging vegetation than to those in aquatic food resources (i.e. emergent aquatic insects). Tetragnathidae TP, which averaged 3.16 across all 12 study reaches (range: 2.35–3.98), was largely driven by canopy density, shoreline shape, percentage overhanging vegetation and emergent-insect density. Emergent-insect density was the strongest driver of tetragnathid spider EBA (0.04–0.54, µ = 0.24). Our study reinforced the notion that riparian spiders ecologically link aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. In particular, our results further current understanding of the mechanisms affecting riparian spider distribution and trophic dynamics, particularly in the context of larger stream and river systems, given that the propensity of related research has occurred in small streams.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Marine and Freshwater Research
  • Source
    • "However, the presence of flagella increased the maximum linear dimension of Group RIb, thereby allowing the species from this group to escape from small invertebrate predators with strict limitations on prey size and shape (Do and On, 1974); the presence of flagella greatly amplified the effect of water viscosity and flow ability on phytoplankton movement, thereby making it difficult for small zooplankton individuals bite or drag (Boukal, 2014). Although predators generally select size-matched prey (Brose et al., 2006), Group RIb species with small sizes were available for large zooplankton (Tab. 5), and the risk is especially high when species from this group are abundant (Van Donk et al., 2011). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Simple morphological traits of phytoplankton have proven to correlate well with the functional properties of taxa. A logical way of distinguishing functional groups of phytoplankton is to cluster species according to their morphological traits, instead of phytosociological traits, which are difficult to measure and incomplete for the vast majority of phytoplankton species. This novel approach inspired the establishment of morphologically based functional groups (MBFG) for lake phytoplankton. This study considers the MBFG as a potentially suitable tool for investigating and comparing the potamoplankton assemblages in riverine ecosystems. This study constructed a special version of MBFG that is aimed at rivers, termed MBFGR. MBFGR is based on information obtained from more than 800 samples of potamoplankton and zooplankton collected from 101 rivers located in four climate zones. Their habitat templates were also described by the thresholds of the environmental variables that promote group dominance. Despite its similar framework with MBFG, MBFGR emphasized the presence of flagella, size and shape, exoskeletal structures, life strategy and subdivision of diatoms. Their habitat templates are outlined by additional factors connected to hydrology and river types. Moreover, each discussed template includes consideration of grazing by zooplankton. Theoretically, MBFGR is better than MBFG because it can sensitively capture the ecological preferences of phytoplankton groups most associated with rivers and provides empirical values to reflect the environmental conditions in riverine ecosystems.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of limnology
Show more