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A comment on the use of allometry in the study of pelagic ecosystem processes
Renato A. Quiñones

The distribution of biomass by size is an indicator of ecosystem structure. Single biomass size-distribution (BSD) studies are not likely to provide clear insights into the bioenergetic dynamics of an ecosystem since there is a high level of uncertainty associated with the estimation of energy and matter fluxes from only basic allometric equations and biomass size-distribution data. However, the use of body size (i.e. size-fractionation) as an organizing criterion to study energy fluxes in situ is very convenient both conceptually and methodologically. Since many processes related to energy fluxes at the individual level are size-dependent, the size-fractionation of a community permits the generation of compartments composed of organisms having approximately the same process rates. From the perspective of Hierarchy Theory, this characteristic of size-based compartments is a major advantage in comparison to other kinds of component aggregation (e.g. taxonomic). The simultaneous study of biomass size-distribution and in situ size-fractionated processes (e.g. respiration, primary production) should prove to be very useful from an empirical and modelling point of view.

Keywords: size-spectrum, size-distribution, allometry, pelagic ecosystem, energy fluxes, respiration, biomass.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 58(1-2) : 11-16 Back PDF
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