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Ecologist overthrows generally accepted principles in ecology

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Posted August 7, 2013

Contemporary ecological theory assumes that differently sized individuals in a population are equally efficient in their use of food resources. Still this is only true in a very exceptional case. It is much more common that ecological patterns occur in nature that are in conflict with these generally accepted rules. This is shown by Lennart Persson at Umeå university together with André De Roos at the University of Amsterdam.

Ecological research is based on a number of generally accepted principles, for example that a predator through its consumption of prey decreases the amount of prey, that predators that feed on the same prey species affect each other negatively and that increased productivity of the resource of the prey always will benefit the predator.

In a recently published paper in the journal Ecology, Lennart Persson at Umeå university and André De Roos at the University of Amsterdam presents a new ecological theory. This theory shows that the generally accepted principles in ecology only holds in the exceptional case when differently sized individuals in the population are equally efficient in using their resources.

“Simply stated an individual’s efficiency in resource use is a result of two processes: how efficient it is in gaining food and how high its cost for metabolic demands is,” says Lennart Persson. “We show that the generally accepted principles in ecology are only true in the case when food intake and metabolic demands increase at the same rate with body size.”

Read more at: Phys.org

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