Brief Communications Arising | Published:

Biological scaling

Does the exception prove the rule?

Nature volume 445, pages E9E10 (01 February 2007) | Download Citation

This article has been updated

Abstract

Arising from: P. B. Reich, M. G. Tjoelker, J.-L. Machado & J. Oleksyn Nature 439, 457–461 (2006)10.1038/nature04282; Reich et al. reply, Hedin reply

Reich et al.1 report that the whole-plant respiration rate, R, in seedlings scales linearly with plant mass, M, so that when θ ≈ 1, in which cR is the scaling normalization and θ is the scaling exponent. They also state that because nitrogen concentration (N) is correlated with cR, variation in N is a better predictor of R than M would be. Reich et al. and Hedin2 incorrectly claim that these “universal” findings question the central tenet of metabolic scaling theory, which they interpret as predicting θ = ¾, irrespective of the size of the plant. Here we show that these conclusions misrepresent metabolic scaling theory and that their results are actually consistent with this theory.

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Change history

  • 09 March 2007

    Reference numbers changed from original document.   * Trend in legend for figure 2 is G → 0, not G → 1 as originally published.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. *Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA

    • Brian J. Enquist
    •  & Charles A. Price
  2. †The Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, USA

    • Brian J. Enquist
    • , James H. Brown
    •  & Geoffrey B. West
  3. ‡National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93101, USA

    • Andrew P. Allen
  4. §Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA

    • James H. Brown
  5. Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA

    • James F. Gillooly
  6. ¶Department of Biology and Department of Mathematics, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio 43022, USA

    • Andrew J. Kerkhoff
  7. #Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA

    • Karl J. Niklas

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Brian J. Enquist.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05548

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