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Energy in-equivalence in australian marsupials: evidence for disruption of the continent’s mammal assemblage, or are rules meant to be broken?


Seebacher, Frank; Munn, Adam J; Dunne, Craig; Müller, Dennis W H; Clauss, Marcus (2013). Energy in-equivalence in australian marsupials: evidence for disruption of the continent’s mammal assemblage, or are rules meant to be broken? PLoS ONE, 8(2):e57449.

Abstract

The energy equivalence rule (EER) is a macroecological hypothesis that posits that total population energy use (PEU) should be independent of species body mass, because population densities and energy metabolisms scale with body mass in a directly inverse manner. However, evidence supporting the EER is equivocal, and the use of basal metabolic rate (BMR) in such studies has been questioned; ecologically-relevant indices like field metabolic rate (FMR) are probably more appropriate. In this regard, Australian marsupials present a novel test for the EER because, unlike eutherians, marsupial BMRs and FMRs scale differently with body mass. Based on either FMR or BMR, Australian marsupial PEU did not obey an EER, and scaled positively with body mass based on ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions. Importantly, the scaling of marsupial population density with body mass had a slope of 20.37, significantly shallower than the expected slope of 20.75, and not directly inverse of body-mass scaling exponents for BMR (0.72) or FMR (0.62). The findings suggest that the EER may not be a causal, universal rule, or that for reasons not yet clear, it is not operating for Australia’s unique native fauna.

Abstract

The energy equivalence rule (EER) is a macroecological hypothesis that posits that total population energy use (PEU) should be independent of species body mass, because population densities and energy metabolisms scale with body mass in a directly inverse manner. However, evidence supporting the EER is equivocal, and the use of basal metabolic rate (BMR) in such studies has been questioned; ecologically-relevant indices like field metabolic rate (FMR) are probably more appropriate. In this regard, Australian marsupials present a novel test for the EER because, unlike eutherians, marsupial BMRs and FMRs scale differently with body mass. Based on either FMR or BMR, Australian marsupial PEU did not obey an EER, and scaled positively with body mass based on ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions. Importantly, the scaling of marsupial population density with body mass had a slope of 20.37, significantly shallower than the expected slope of 20.75, and not directly inverse of body-mass scaling exponents for BMR (0.72) or FMR (0.62). The findings suggest that the EER may not be a causal, universal rule, or that for reasons not yet clear, it is not operating for Australia’s unique native fauna.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:19 Mar 2013 14:15
Last Modified:12 Aug 2017 22:23
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057449
PubMed ID:23460858

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