MEPS 276:289-292 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps276289

Predicting abundance-body mass relationships in benthic infaunal communities

T. A. Dinmore*, S. Jennings

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Lowestoft Laboratory, Lowestoft, NR33 OHT, UK

ABSTRACT: The body size composition of benthic communities is commonly described using abundance-body mass relationships (size spectra). We tested whether the slopes of these relationships in a central North Sea infaunal community could be predicted from the energy available to different size-classes of animals. The results showed that the observed slopes were consistent with predictions of slope based on available energy at mass, where available energy was calculated from empirical measurements of trophic level (using nitrogen stable isotope analysis) and estimated trophic transfer efficiency. If our preliminary findings prove to apply more widely, then our macroecological approach may be refined to validate size-based models of community structure to explain regional differences in size structure and to underpin the development of new disturbance indicators.

KEY WORDS: Abundance-body mass relationships · Macroecology · Energetic equivalence · Size spectra · Benthic invertebrates · Stable isotope analysis · Trophic structure

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