The predominance of quarter‐power scaling in biology

The predominance of quarter‐power scaling in biology Summary 1 Recent studies have resurrected the debate over the value for the allometric scaling exponent that relates whole‐organism metabolic rate to body size. Is it 3/4 or 2/3? This question has been raised before and resolved in favour of 3/4. Like previous ones, recent claims for a value of 2/3 are based almost entirely on basal metabolic rate (BMR) in mammals. 2 Here we compile and analyse a new, larger data set for mammalian BMR. We show that interspecific variation in BMR, as well as field metabolic rates of mammals, and basal or standard metabolic rates for many other organisms, including vertebrates, invertebrates, protists and plants, all scale with exponents whose confidence intervals include 3/4 and exclude 2/3. Our analysis of maximal metabolic rate gives a slope that is greater than and confidence intervals that exclude both 3/4 and 2/3. 3 Additionally, numerous other physiological rates that are closely tied to metabolism in a wide variety of organisms, including heart and respiratory rates in mammals, scale as M−1/4. 4 The fact that quarter‐power allometric scaling is so pervasive in biology suggests that different allometric relations have a common, mechanistic origin and provides an empirical basis for theoretical models that derive these scaling exponents. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Functional Ecology Wiley

The predominance of quarter‐power scaling in biology

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0269-8463
eISSN
1365-2435
D.O.I.
10.1111/j.0269-8463.2004.00856.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Summary 1 Recent studies have resurrected the debate over the value for the allometric scaling exponent that relates whole‐organism metabolic rate to body size. Is it 3/4 or 2/3? This question has been raised before and resolved in favour of 3/4. Like previous ones, recent claims for a value of 2/3 are based almost entirely on basal metabolic rate (BMR) in mammals. 2 Here we compile and analyse a new, larger data set for mammalian BMR. We show that interspecific variation in BMR, as well as field metabolic rates of mammals, and basal or standard metabolic rates for many other organisms, including vertebrates, invertebrates, protists and plants, all scale with exponents whose confidence intervals include 3/4 and exclude 2/3. Our analysis of maximal metabolic rate gives a slope that is greater than and confidence intervals that exclude both 3/4 and 2/3. 3 Additionally, numerous other physiological rates that are closely tied to metabolism in a wide variety of organisms, including heart and respiratory rates in mammals, scale as M−1/4. 4 The fact that quarter‐power allometric scaling is so pervasive in biology suggests that different allometric relations have a common, mechanistic origin and provides an empirical basis for theoretical models that derive these scaling exponents.

Journal

Functional EcologyWiley

Published: Apr 1, 2004

References

  • Allometric scaling of maximum population density: a common rule for marine phytoplankton and terrestrial plants
    Belgrano, Belgrano; Allen, Allen; Enquist, Enquist; Gillooly, Gillooly
  • Universal scaling in tree and vascular plant allometry: toward a general quantitative theory linking plant form and function from cells to ecosystems
    Enquist, Enquist
  • Thermodynamic and metabolic effects on the scaling of production and population energy use
    Ernest, Ernest; Enquist, Enquist; Brown, Brown; Charnov, Charnov; Gillooly, Gillooly; Savage, Savage; White, White; Smith, Smith; Hadly, Hadly; Haskell, Haskell; Lyons, Lyons; Maurer, Maurer; Niklas, Niklas; Tiffney, Tiffney
  • What does the power function reveal about structure and function in animals of different size?
    Heusner, Heusner
  • Body size and metabolism
    Kleiber, Kleiber
  • Energetics of free‐ranging mammals, reptiles, and birds
    Nagy, Nagy; Girard, Girard; Brown, Brown
  • Scaling of respiratory variables in mammals
    Stahl, Stahl

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