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Nature. 2013 Jan 31;493(7434):E1-2; discussion E2-3. doi: 10.1038/nature11829.

Does consumption rate scale superlinearly?

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, 25 Harbord St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G5, Canada.


Arising from S. Pawar, A. I. Dell & V. M. Savage 486, 485-489 10.1038/nature11131(2012)A recent paper by Pawar and colleagues has provided important insights into the consequences of foraging behaviour for food-web dynamics. One notable pattern predicted by their analysis is that consumption rate (c) scales superlinearly (cm(1.16)) with consumer body mass (m) in three-dimensional (3D), but not two-dimensional (2D), foraging spaces. Although we feel that the authors should be applauded for this interesting contribution, we argue that their result is not consistent with established life-history theory. To resolve this contradiction, progress in both fields is probably required, including new empirical studies in which consumption rate, metabolism and dimensionality are examined directly under natural conditions.

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