Relation Between Population Density and Body Size in Stream Communities

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Science  01 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5484, pp. 1557-1560
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5484.1557

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The existence of a general relation between population density and body size in animal assemblages has been debated because of known biases and ambiguities in the published data and data handling. Using new comprehensive data sets from two geographically separated stream communities that encompass 448 and 260 invertebrate taxa with a wide range of body sizes, we show that an inverse proportionality between density and body size is a consistent feature in these communities. The scaling across taxa is not statistically different between the two systems, indicating a convergent pattern of communities. Variation in the regression slope among different taxonomic groups indicates that these communities are not governed universally by a single ecological or energetic rule.

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