TY - JOUR
T1 - Sizing Up Allometric Scaling Theory
A1 - Savage, Van M.
A1 - Deeds, Eric J.
A1 - Fontana, Walter
Y1 - 2008/09/12
N2 - Author Summary The rate at which an organism produces energy to live increases with body mass to the 3/4 power. Ten years ago West, Brown, and Enquist posited that this empirical relationship arises from the structure and dynamics of resource distribution networks such as the cardiovascular system. Using assumptions that capture physical and biological constraints, they defined a vascular network model that predicts a 3/4 scaling exponent. In our paper we clarify that this model generates the 3/4 exponent only in the limit of infinitely large organisms. Our calculations indicate that in the finite-size version of the model metabolic rate and body mass are not related by a pure power law, which we show is consistent with available data. We also show that this causes the model to produce scaling exponents significantly larger than the observed 3/4. We investigate how changes in certain assumptions about network structure affect the scaling exponent, leading us to identify discrepancies between available data and the predictions of the finite-size model. This suggests that the model, the data, or both, need reassessment. The challenge lies in pinpointing the physiological and evolutionary factors that constrain the shape of networks driving metabolic scaling.
JF - PLOS Computational Biology
JA - PLOS Computational Biology
VL - 4
IS - 9
UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1000171
SP - e1000171
EP -
PB - Public Library of Science
M3 - doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000171
ER -