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The relationship between density and mean frond weight in monospecific seaweed stands

Nature volume 301, pages 240241 (20 January 1983) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The equation w = Kd−3/2 (log10 w = log10 K − 1.5 log10 d) (1) defines a boundary condition known as the −3/2 power law1, above which combinations of mean plant weight and density may not occur. In this equation w is mean above-ground plant dry weight, d is plant density and K is a constant. For developing cohorts of plants combinations of mean weight and density approach and then move parallel to this boundary along lines for which log10 K is typically between 3.5 and 4.32. Annual shoot populations produced by clonal perennial herbs approach, but do not cross the line where log10 K = 4.3 (refs 3, 4). Dense, natural stands of many species with a wide range of growth forms and age distributions lie close to, but below the same line2,5. Virtually all plant populations for which data are available, therefore, fall below the line given by log10 w = 4.3 − 1.5 log10 d (2) We present here evidence suggesting that this line also defines a boundary condition for mean weight and density combinations in monospecific seaweed stands.

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Author information

Author notes

    • Roger Cousens

    Present address: MAFF Fisheries Laboratory, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, UK.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4J1

    • Roger Cousens
  2. School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QG, UK

    • Michael J. Hutchings

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About this article

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/301240a0

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