"An unresolved problem in ecology: a bottom-up predictive model of body size", Will Cornwell, Associate Professor at School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales
Source: BRS series
Despite the importance of the processes of respiration and decomposition and the impact of heterotrophic organisms on the cycling of terrestrial carbon, we currently have no theory to predict the body size of a consumer of a piece of organic matter, from an ecosystem perspective. Given the well-documented differences in rate of life/ consumption of across body sizes, this has profound implications for models of the global carbon cycle, which currently rarely include impact of animal consumption of matter. In order to build a complete model for predicting body size of a consumer we need more than current frameworks derived from theory on either physiology/metabolism or competition for resources. I explore the crucial ingredients: substrate total energy, the patch matrix, and the connection between body size and foraging. Only in bringing these aspects together and by bridging the divide between animals and microbial ecology, can we begin to address this gap.