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Trends Ecol Evol. 1986 Oct;1(4):101-4. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(86)90034-0.

Energetics, physiology and vertebrate ecology.

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W.H. Karasov is at the Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


The magnitude of energy flow through individual animals and their populations is potentially limited by several physiological factors. These include thermal constraints affecting the time available for foraging, physiological design constraints affecting foraging mode and the rate of prey capture, and digestive constraints on how much food can be processed per day. Over short periods (hours or less), maximal rates of metabolism may determine survival during exposure to cold or when fleeing predators. Energetics, physiology and ecology can be usefully integrated within the context of the concept of maximum rate of energy flow.

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