Evaluating general allometric models: interspecific and intraspecific data tell different stories due to interspecific variation in stem tissue density and leaf size

Yingxin Huang, M.J. Lechowicz, D. Zhou, Charles Price

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. The ability of general scaling models to capture the central tendency or dispersion in biological data has been questioned. In fact, the appropriate domain of such models has never been clearly articulated and they have been supported and challenged using both interspecific and/or intraspecific data. Here, we evaluate several simplifying assumptions and predictions of two prominent scaling models: West, Brown and Enquist’s fractal model (WBE) and a null model of geometric similarity (GEOM). Using data for 53 herbaceous angiosperm species from the Songnen Grasslands of Northern China, we compared both the interspecific and intraspecific scaling relationships for plant geometry and biomass partitioning. Specifically, we considered biomass investment in shoots and leaves as well as related several traits not commonly collected in plant allometric analyses: shoot volume, leaf number, and mean leaf mass. At the interspecific level, we find substantial variation in regression slopes, and the simplifying assumptions of WBE and predictions of both the WBE and GEOM models do not hold. In contrast, we find substantial support for the WBE model at the intraspecific level, and to a lesser extent for GEOM. The differences between our results at interspecific and intraspecific levels are due to the fact that leaf size and stem tissue density vary considerably across species in contrast to the simplifying assumptions of WBE. These results highlight the domain within which simplifying model assumptions might be most appropriate, and suggest allometric models may be useful points of departure within some species, growth forms or taxonomic groups.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)671-684
    JournalOecologia
    Volume180
    Issue number3
    Early online date16 Nov 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

    Fingerprint

    interspecific variation
    stem
    stems
    leaves
    shoot
    tissue
    tissues
    shoots
    prediction
    biomass
    biomass allocation
    growth form
    angiosperm
    Angiospermae
    grasslands
    grassland
    geometry
    China

    Cite this

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    abstract = "{\circledC} 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. The ability of general scaling models to capture the central tendency or dispersion in biological data has been questioned. In fact, the appropriate domain of such models has never been clearly articulated and they have been supported and challenged using both interspecific and/or intraspecific data. Here, we evaluate several simplifying assumptions and predictions of two prominent scaling models: West, Brown and Enquist’s fractal model (WBE) and a null model of geometric similarity (GEOM). Using data for 53 herbaceous angiosperm species from the Songnen Grasslands of Northern China, we compared both the interspecific and intraspecific scaling relationships for plant geometry and biomass partitioning. Specifically, we considered biomass investment in shoots and leaves as well as related several traits not commonly collected in plant allometric analyses: shoot volume, leaf number, and mean leaf mass. At the interspecific level, we find substantial variation in regression slopes, and the simplifying assumptions of WBE and predictions of both the WBE and GEOM models do not hold. In contrast, we find substantial support for the WBE model at the intraspecific level, and to a lesser extent for GEOM. The differences between our results at interspecific and intraspecific levels are due to the fact that leaf size and stem tissue density vary considerably across species in contrast to the simplifying assumptions of WBE. These results highlight the domain within which simplifying model assumptions might be most appropriate, and suggest allometric models may be useful points of departure within some species, growth forms or taxonomic groups.",
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    Evaluating general allometric models: interspecific and intraspecific data tell different stories due to interspecific variation in stem tissue density and leaf size. / Huang, Yingxin; Lechowicz, M.J.; Zhou, D.; Price, Charles.

    In: Oecologia, Vol. 180, No. 3, 03.2016, p. 671-684.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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