Summary: The mechanistic basis of the metabolic theory of ecology
Andrew P. Allen and James F. Gillooly
A. P. Allen, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, 735 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA. Á J. F. Gillooly
(email@example.com), Dept of Zoology, 223 Bartram Hall, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
We welcome the opportunity to respond to O'Connor
et al. (2007). We hope that this exchange will help to
clarify some of the strengths and weaknesses of the
Metabolic theory of ecology (MTE), and will point
towards fruitful areas for future research.
The MTE has been formulated based on the premise
that the structure and dynamics of ecological commu-
nities are inextricably linked to individual metabolism.
The individual metabolic rate is the rate at which an
organism takes up energetic and material resources from
the environment, transforms them into useable forms,
and allocates them to the fitness-enhancing processes of
survival, growth, and reproduction. Interactions be-
tween organisms and their environment (including
other organisms) are therefore constrained by metabolic
rate. Physiologists have long known that there are three