R.S.E. and M.E.F.A. contributed equally to this paper.
Demystifying the West, Brown & Enquist model of the allometry of metabolism
Article first published online: 12 MAY 2006
Volume 20, Issue 2, pages 394–399, April 2006
How to Cite
ETIENNE, R. S., APOL, M. E. F. and OLFF, H. (2006), Demystifying the West, Brown & Enquist model of the allometry of metabolism. Functional Ecology, 20: 394–399. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2006.01136.x
- Issue published online: 12 MAY 2006
- Article first published online: 12 MAY 2006
- Received 23 November 2005; revised 20 March 2006; accepted 31 March 2006 Editor: S. L. Chown
Vol. 20, Issue 4, 743, Article first published online: 7 JUL 2006
- Allometric scaling;
- metabolic theory;
- organismal transport network;
- fractal topology
- 1The allometry of metabolic rate has long been one of the key relationships in ecology. While its existence is generally agreed on, the exact value of the scaling exponent, and the key mechanisms that determine its value, are still hotly debated.
- 2The network model of West, Brown & Enquist (Science 276, 122–126, 1997) predicts a value of 3/4 but, although appealing, this model has not been generally accepted.
- 3Here we reconstruct the model and derive the exponent in a clearer and much more straightforward way that requires weaker assumptions than the original model. Specifically, self-similarity of the network is not required. Our formulation can even be used if one or several assumptions of West et al. (1997) are considered invalid.
- 4Moreover, we provide a formula for the proportionality constant (i.e. the intercept of the allometric scaling relation) that shows explicitly where factors as temperature and stoichiometry affect metabolism.