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.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|