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Metabolic rate and abundance

Per Arneberg pera at ibg.uit.no
Tue May 21 09:45:20 EST 1996

Helo everyone
For the past decade or so, metabolic rate has been discussed as a determinant 
of population density.  The evidence has been the relationshis between body 
size and abundance and between body size and metabolic rate; abundance scales 
to body size with a slope of minus 0.75, and metabolic rate scales with a 
slope of pluss 0.75 (on log-log scales).  From this people have inferred that 
population abundance is limited by energy availability, the mechanisms beeing 
the metabolic rate.  All evidence stems from free-living animals, mainly birds 
and mammals.
Parasites have been thought not to be energy limited.  But is this 
true ?  I have recently found a negative relationship between body size and 
population density across nematodes parasitising mammals.  The slope is not 
far from minus 0.75.  But what is the relationship between body size and 
metabolic rate in mammalian nematodes (or helminth parasites in general) ?  I 
have been searching for estimates of species basal metabolic rate, but have 
found only one in the litterature.  Do any of you know of papers where the 
metabolic rate of nematodes have been estimated ?  Please do not hesitate to 
send me an e-mail.  Do anyone have opinions on whether parasites populations 
may be energy limited ?

Per Arneberg

Department of Ecology/Zoology
IBG, University of Tromsoe, Norway
e-mail: pera at ibg.uit.no

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