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  • Body size  (52)
  • 1
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Key words Food webs ; Body size ; Cascade model ; Contingency tables ; Kernel smoothing
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract  The cascade model successfuly predicts many patterns in reported food webs. A key assumption of this model is the existence of a predetermined trophic hierarchy; prey are always lower in the hierarchy than their predators. At least three studies have suggested that, in animal food webs, this hierarchy can be explained to a large extent by body size relationships. A second assumption of the standard cascade model is that trophic links not prohibited by the hierarchy occur with equal probability. Using nonparametric contingency table analyses, we tested this ”equiprobability hypothesis” in 16 published animal food webs for which the adult body masses of the species had been estimated. We found that when the hierarchy was based on body size, the equiprobability hypothesis was rejected in favor of an alternative, ”predator-dominance” hypothesis wherein the probability of a trophic link varies with the identity of the predator. Another alternative to equiprobabilty is that the probability of a trophic link depends upon the ratio of the body sizes of the two species. Using nonparametric regression and liklihood ratio tests, we show that a size-ratio based model represents a significant improvement over the cascade model. These results suggest that models with heterogeneous predation probabilities will fit food web data better than the homogeneous cascade model. They also suggest a new way to bridge the gap between static and dynamic food web models.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Fecundity ; Body size ; Climate ; Survival ; Adaptation
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract I examined the relationship between age, body size and fecundity in 833 female moose (Alces alces) from 14 populations in Sweden sampled during 1989–1992. Data on population density, food availability and climatic conditions were also collected for each population. Age and body mass were both significantly positively related to fecundity, measured as ovulation rate, among female moose. The relationship between the probability of ovulation and body mass was dependent on age with (1) a higher body mass needed in younger females for attaining a given fecundity, and (2) body mass having a stronger effect on fecundity in yearling (1.5 year) than in older (≥2.5 year) females. Thus, a 40 kg increase in yearling body mass resulted in a 42% increase in the probability of ovulation as compared to a 6% increase in older females. The lower reproductive effort per unit body mass, and the relatively stronger association between fecundity and body mass in young female moose compared to older ones, is likely to primarily represent a mechanism that trades off early maturation against further growth, indicating a higher cost of reproduction in young animals. In addition to age and body mass, population identity explained a significant amount of the individual variation in fecundity, showing that the relationship between body mass and fecundity was variable among populations. This variation was in turn related to the environment, in terms of climatic conditions forcing female moose living in relatively harsh/more seasonal climatic conditions to attain a 22% higher body mass to achive the same probability of multiple ovulation (twinning) as females living in climatically milder/less seasonal environments. The results suggests that the lower fecundity per unit body mass in female moose living in climatically harsh/more seasonal environments may be an adaptive response to lower rates of juvenile survival, compared to females experiencing relatively milder/less seasonal climatic conditions.
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  • 3
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Springer
    Oecologia 71 (1987), S. 239-244 
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Ambystoma ; Body size ; Competitive ability ; Foraging rate ; Prey size
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary We examined how prey size-distributions influence size-specific foraing rate and food gain, i.e., food intake scaled to metabolic demands, in Jefferson's and small-mouth salamander larvae. Ambystoma jeffersonianum larvae sampled on 17 dates from a farm pond whose fauna was dominated by macrozooplankton and chironomid larvae were rarely gape-limited, and total volume of food in the stomach (VS) showed only a slight tendency to increase with larval size. Although 15 of 17 correlation coefficients of VS with larval size were positive, only 1 of 17 correlations were statistically significant, and body size explained only 8% of the overall variation in VS. Correlation coefficients of food gain and body size were positive in 9 cases and negative in 8, but only 3 were statistically significant. In contrast, Ambystoma texanum larvae in 42 samples taken from five sites dominated by macrozooplankton as well as relatively large isopods and amphipods were almost always gape-limited, and VS tended to increase markedly with larval size. 40 of 42 correlation coefficients of VS and larval size were positive, and 19 correlations were statistically significant. Body size in turn explained about 35% of the overall variation in VS. Correlation coefficients of food gain and larval size were positive in 32 of 42 samples, and 9 of 10 significant correlations were positive. When food is limiting and prey selection is not limited by gape, smaller larvae may grow as fast or in some cases faster than larger larvae because they are nearly as effective foragers, but have lower metabolic demands. Larger larvae may in turn grow faster than smaller larvae in environments which support a broad size spectrum of prey, particularly when gape limitations are highly disproportionate among size classes. The growth rate of larvae in one size class relative to another depends primarily on the extent to which increased foraging rate compensates for higher energy demands as body size increases. Size-specific foraging rate may in turn be strongly influenced by the prey size-distribution within a habitat. These relationships suggest that relative size is not always a good a priori predictor of exploitative competitive ability.
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  • 4
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Springer
    Oecologia 74 (1987), S. 272-276 
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Body size ; Aquatic organisms, maximum density maximum biomass, interorganismic distance
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary The maximum density achievable by aquatic organisms is an inverse linear function of their body size. As a consequence, the maximum achievable biomass is independent of body size, and is 2 orders of magnitude higher than the biomass in natural populations. The minimum interorganismic terorganismic distance, calculated from the maximum density to allow comparison between aquatic and terrestrial organisms, scales as the 1/3 power of body size in both habitats. The similarities in the interorganismic distance of terrestrial and aquatic plant and animal communities suggest a fundamental regularity in the way organisms use the space.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Aeshna ; Body size ; Gasterosteus aculeatus ; Refuge ; Size-limited predation
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary In Crystal Lake, British Columbia, small fry (≤15 mm SL) of the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) are concentrated in vegetation while larger fry are not. Because fry in all size classes feed primarily on zooplankton, even when in vegetation, we hypothesized that size-limited predation was responsible for the observed shift in habitat use with size. The major predators on fry in Crystal Lake are adult threespine stickleback, the water scorpion, Ranatra sp. (Hemiptera: Nepidae), backswimmers, Notonecta spp. (Hemiptera: Notonectidae), and dragonfly naiads of the genus Aeshna (Odonata: Aeschnidae). On the basis of distribution and hunting behavior we excluded the insects Ranatra sp., and Notonecta sp. as causal agents for this shift in resource by fry in water 〉0.25 m deep. Ranatra was found almost exclusively near the shoreline in water 〈0.25 m deep, and both insects hunted primarily as ambush predators within vegetation. Such predators seemed more likely to drive vulnerable fry from vegetation than to restrict them to it. In contrast, Aeshna naiads and adult stickleback frequently hunted outside of vegetation. In prey preference experiments the naiads did not show the decline in predation efficiency on fry 〉15 mm SL that would be expected if size-limited predation by this insect was responsible for the observed shift in resource use by fry. Adult stickleback only fed on fry 〈15 mm SL, and in an experimental situation, consumed fry at a rate 10 times greater than that exhibited by any of the insects. Predation experiments demonstrated that small fry (11–15 mm) spent more time in vegetation in the presence of adult conspecifics than they did in control pools, as would be expected if size-limited cannibalism caused small, vulnerable fry to be restricted to vegetation. Fry 〉15 mm SL were found outside of vegetation more often than in control treatments. The probable cause of this result is that adults become aggressive toward fry at this size, and often could be seen chasing large fry from vegetation during the experiments. Dragonfly naiads (Aeshna spp.) spent most of their time in vegetation in the experimental pools. Both size classes of fry spent less time in vegetation in the presence of dragonfly naiads than they did in control treatments, an apparent reflection of their similar vulnerabilities to these naiads. The presence of vegetation in pools reduced predation rates by adult stickleback on small fry. Because the experiments presented here indicate that fry are capable of rapidly assessing predation risk and of altering their behavior adaptively, we conclude that small fry occupy vegetation as a refuge from cannibalism. Once fry have reached the size-threshold at which they are no longer vulnerable to adult conspecifics they are able to forage farther from vegetation thereby reducing risk of predation by insects in vegetation and possibly acquiring more abundant food resources.
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  • 6
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Body size ; Density-dependent ; Diadema antillarum ; Indeterminate growth ; Size-dependent
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary This study documents size- and density-dependent growth (positive and negative), in the sea urchin Diadema antillarum. In the summer of 1983, an inverse relationship was found between Diadema test diameter and population density at seven sites in Lameshur Bay, St. John, United States Virgin Islands. The regression of this relationship improved when test diameter was plotted against density per unit grazing area. A field experiment demonstrated that 1) Diadema has the ability to reduce skeletal body size, and 2) direction (growth or shrinkage) and rate of growth can be predicted accurately based on the urchin's body size and population density. The ability to adjust body size as density fluctuates may allow Diadema to persist when density increases, by shrinking and reducing metabolic costs, and to take advantage of decreases in density, by increasing in size and fecundity.
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  • 7
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Springer
    Oecologia 77 (1988), S. 286-288 
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Body size ; Cannibalism ; Caterpillar ; Density ; Litoprosopus futilis
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary The effects of relative body size and conspecific density on cannibalism in the caterpillar Litoprosopus futilis were examined in simple container experiment. The results of the experiments and field observations indicate that the opportunity to consume live conspecific is afforded only when there is a physical advantage of large size.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Wing polymorphism ; Body size ; Heritability ; Gene flow
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary The wing-polymorphic ground beetle Pogonus chalceus MARSHAM was subjected to crossbreeding experiments under different laboratory conditions in order to estimate the genetic and environmental contributions to the total phenotypic variance in different morphological traits related to relative wing development and body size. Heritability of relative wing development appears to be strong. Beetle size also seems genetically determined in some cases, but separation of male and female parent contribution invariably shows a maternal effect. These results are tested in a breeding experiment with a high number of progeny from one parental pair, reared at two temperatures and at two levels of food supply. Relative wing development is not influenced by these environmental conditions, as expected, but different temperatures add significant variance to the body size values. The experimental results are used to explain interdemic variation in these morphological traits, as observed in three isolated field populations. The reproductive effort under optimum breeding conditions is higher in macropterous beetles than in beetles with reduced wings, but this could result from their larger body size. Migtion seems to be the most plausible underlying evolutionary mechanism for the observed wing reduction in older populations.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Body size ; Postnatal growth rate ; Allometry ; Mammals
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary It is argued that the postnatal growth rate should be linked to maternal body weight by the exponent 0.75. This theoretically derived hypothesis is found to be consistent with published data on the growth rates of mammals in nine orders. We emphasize the importance of defining the taxonomic level and period for which postnatal growth rates are measured.
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  • 10
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Springer
    Oecologia 81 (1989), S. 295-301 
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Body size ; Competition ; Rotifera ; Cladocera ; Zooplankton
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary We conducted laboratory experiments to test the hypothesis that rotifers could coexist with small (〈1.2 mm) but not large (〉1.2 mm) cladocerans. Keratella cochlearis was excluded in 〈8 days by the large cladocerans Daphnia pulex and D. magna, probably through both interference and exploitative competition. On the other hand, K. cochlearis persisted for 8 weeks with two small cladocerans (Bosmina longirostris and Ceriodaphnia dubia) and excluded a third small cladoceran (D. ambigua). Similarly, Synchaeta oblonga coexisted with B. longirostris for 〉7 weeks, and K. testudo coexisted with D. ambigua for 〉4 weeks. Coexistence of small cladocerans and rotifers was always accompanied by suppression of one or both populations, probably primarily if not exclusively by exploitative competition for limiting food resources. These results indicate that the competitive dominance of cladocerans over rotifers decreases markedly with cladoceran body size and that factors other than body size may determine the competitive outcome between rotifers and small cladocerans. Our study provides a mechanistic explanation for a commonly observed pattern in natural zooplankton communities: planktonic rotifers often are abundant when only small cladocerans occur but typically are rare when large cladocerans are present.
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