eCite Digital Repository

Consumer-resource body-size relationships in natural food webs


Brose, U and Jonsson, T and Berlow, EL and Warren, P and Banasek-Richter, C and Bersier, L-F and Blanchard, JL and Brey, T and Carpenter, SR and Cattin Blandenier, M-F and Cushing, L and Dawah, HA and Dell, T and Edwards, F and Harper-Smith, S and Jacob, U and Ledger, ME and Martinez, ND and Memmott, J and Mintenbeck, K and Pinnegar, JK and Rall, BC and Rayner, TS and Reuman, DC and Ruess, L and Ulrich, W and Williams, RJ and Woodward, G and Cohen, JE, Consumer-resource body-size relationships in natural food webs, Ecology, 87, (10) pp. 2411-2417. ISSN 0012-9658 (2006) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

CVopyright 2006 by the Ecological Society of America

DOI: doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[2411:CBRINF]2.0.CO;2


It has been suggested that differences in body size between consumer and resource species may have important implications for interaction strengths, population dynamics, and eventually food web structure, function, and evolution. Still, the general distribution of consumer–resource body-size ratios in real ecosystems, and whether they vary systematically among habitats or broad taxonomic groups, is poorly understood. Using a unique global database on consumer and resource body sizes, we show that the mean body-size ratios of aquatic herbivorous and detritivorous consumers are several orders of magnitude larger than those of carnivorous predators. Carnivorous predator–prey body-size ratios vary across different habitats and predator and prey types (invertebrates, ectotherm, and endotherm vertebrates). Predator–prey body-size ratios are on average significantly higher (1) in freshwater habitats than in marine or terrestrial habitats, (2) for vertebrate than for invertebrate predators, and (3) for invertebrate than for ectotherm vertebrate prey. If recent studies that relate body-size ratios to interaction strengths are general, our results suggest that mean consumer–resource interaction strengths may vary systematically across different habitat categories and consumer types.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:body size, food webs
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Blanchard, JL (Professor Julia Blanchard)
ID Code:100508
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:462
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2015-05-18
Last Modified:2015-09-07
Downloads:431 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page