Rapid Anthropocene realignment of allometric scaling rules

Santini, Luca; Isaac, Nick J.B. ORCID: 2021 Rapid Anthropocene realignment of allometric scaling rules. Ecology Letters, 24 (7). 1318-1327.

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The negative relationship between body size and population density in mammals is often interpreted as resulting from energetic constraints. In a global change scenario, however, this relationship might be expected to change, given the size-dependent nature of anthropogenic pressures and vulnerability to extinction. Here we test whether the size-density relationship (SDR) in mammals has changed over the last 50 years. We show that the relationship has shifted down and became shallower, corresponding to a decline in population density of 31–73%, for the largest and smallest mammals, respectively. However, the SDRs became steeper in some groups (e.g. carnivores) and shallower in others (e.g. herbivores). The Anthropocene reorganisation of biotic systems is apparent in macroecological relationships, reinforcing the notion that biodiversity pattens are contingent upon conditions at the time of investigation. We call for an increased attention to the role of global change on macroecological inferences.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1461-023X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: energy-equivalence rule, global change, mammals, population density, size-density relationship
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 08 Jun 2021 15:47 +0 (UTC)

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