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Megaherbivores as pacemakers of carnivore diversity and biomass: distributing or sinking trophic energy


Hummel, Jürgen; Clauss, Marcus (2008). Megaherbivores as pacemakers of carnivore diversity and biomass: distributing or sinking trophic energy. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 10:925-930.

Abstract

Question: What is the trophic role of megaherbivores?
Hypothesis: Depending on their life histories, megaherbivores can either act as sinks or distributors of trophic energy.
Methods: Comparative review of mammal and dinosaur faunas, and aspects of their reproductive biology.
Conclusion: Extant (mammalian) megaherbivore populations represent trophic sinks that potentially limit carnivore diversity and productivity, because they are immune to predation and follow a reproductive strategy of very few, well-protected offspring. In contrast, in dinosaur faunas, particularities of reproductive biology such as a larger number of offspring and limited parental care made a major part of megaherbivore biomass available to carnivores. This increase in available trophic energy in consequence allowed for larger body masses and higher species diversity of dinosaur carnivores.

Abstract

Question: What is the trophic role of megaherbivores?
Hypothesis: Depending on their life histories, megaherbivores can either act as sinks or distributors of trophic energy.
Methods: Comparative review of mammal and dinosaur faunas, and aspects of their reproductive biology.
Conclusion: Extant (mammalian) megaherbivore populations represent trophic sinks that potentially limit carnivore diversity and productivity, because they are immune to predation and follow a reproductive strategy of very few, well-protected offspring. In contrast, in dinosaur faunas, particularities of reproductive biology such as a larger number of offspring and limited parental care made a major part of megaherbivore biomass available to carnivores. This increase in available trophic energy in consequence allowed for larger body masses and higher species diversity of dinosaur carnivores.

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11 citations in Web of Science®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:22 Dec 2008 14:07
Last Modified:25 Nov 2018 02:35
Publisher:Evolutionary Ecology Ltd
ISSN:1522-0613
OA Status:Green
Official URL:http://www.evolutionary-ecology.com/issues/v10n06/mmar2365.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.evolutionary-ecology.com/ (Publisher)

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