Body size

A second recurrent theme in this book has been the significance of body size-related variation in physiological traits. Indeed, it is widely appreciated that body size and many physiological variables are highly correlated, and that interactions between the latter and life history variables produce the range in body sizes that has been documented for various assemblages (Peters 1983; Schmidt-Nielsen 1984; Kozlowski and Gawelczyk 2002). That individual body size varies through space, therefore, potentially has profound implications not only for physiological functioning, but also for biodiversity as a whole (Gaston and Blackburn 2000; Allen et al. 2002). However, we have paid scant attention to spatial variation in body size.

Before discussing patterns in size variation, the mechanisms thought to explain them, and the constraints that might be associated with restriction to a given size, it is worth reiterating that there is considerable feedback between life history and physiological traits, and body size, which determines optimal individual size, and, in consequence, the body size-frequency distributions so typical of animal assemblages. These interactions have been

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