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Species richness and allometric scaling jointly determine biomass in model aquatic food webs.

Authors
  • Long, Zachary T
  • Steiner, Christopher F
  • Krumins, Jennifer Adams
  • Morin, Peter J
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of animal ecology
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2006
Volume
75
Issue
4
Pages
1014–1023
Identifiers
PMID: 17009764
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

1. Allometric theory makes specific predictions about how density, and consequently biomass, scale with organism size within trophic levels, across trophic levels and across food webs. 2. Diversity-yield relationships suggest that more diverse food webs can sometimes support more biomass through mechanisms involving niche complementarity or selection effects that are sometimes attributed to organism size. 3. We combine the above two approaches and show that, generally, density and biomass scale with organism size within and between trophic levels as predicted by allometric theory. Further, food webs converged in total biomass despite persistent differences in the composition and size of the organisms among food webs; species richness explained deviations from the constant yield of biomass expected from size-abundance relationships. 4. Our results suggest that organism size plays only a transient role in controlling community biomass because population increases or decreases lead to rapid convergence in biomass. Species richness affects community biomass independently by effectively increasing the mass of organisms that can be supported in a given productivity regime.

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