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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Jan 29;104(4):048702. Epub 2010 Jan 27.

Optimal form of branching supply and collection networks.

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Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Center for Complex Systems, and the Vermont Advanced Computing Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05401, USA.


For the problem of efficiently supplying material to a spatial region from a single source, we present a simple scaling argument based on branching network volume minimization that identifies limits to the scaling of sink density. We discuss implications for two fundamental and unresolved problems in organismal biology and geomorphology: how basal metabolism scales with body size for homeotherms and the scaling of drainage basin shape on eroding landscapes.

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