Smaller predator-prey body size ratios in longer food chains

S Jennings, KJ Warr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Maximum food-chain length has been correlated with resource availability, ecosystem size, environmental stability and colonization history. Some of these correlations may result from environmental effects on predator-prey body size ratios. We investigate relationships between maximum food-chain length, predator-prey mass ratios, primary production and environmental stability in marine food webs with a natural history of community assembly. Our analyses provide empirical evidence that smaller mean predator-prey body size ratios are characteristic of more stable environments and that food chains are longer when mean predator-prey body size ratios are small. We conclude that environmental effects on predator-prey body size ratios contribute to observed differences in maximum food-chain length.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1413-1417
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume270
Issue number1522
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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