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Ecological Consequences of Body Size

  1. William A Calder

Published Online: 25 APR 2001

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0003208



How to Cite

Calder, W. A. 2001. Ecological Consequences of Body Size. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 APR 2001


More of the intraclass evolution of animals has been linked to body size than to any other characteristic. Adult body size exerts a quantitative dominance over how an animal lives and for how long and on its rate of living and extraction of resources from its environment, and consequently on how many of its kind can live simultaneously on a unit of habitat. Size thus determines how the species fits into its ecological community. Continuity is revealed by similar exponents on body mass for functions ranging from metabolism and its physiological support to ecology and conservation. These size-dependent relationships give us a marvellous basis for understanding ecology and predicting conservation outcomes.


  • scaling;
  • population;
  • density;
  • conservation;
  • convergence;
  • energetics;
  • allometry