Gillooly, J.; University of Florida: The George A. Bartholomew Award Lecture: Linking Biological Currencies in Ecology and Evolution
Metabolic rate sets the rates of resource uptake from the environment, and resource allocation to survival, growth, and reproduction. It provides a basis for using first principles of physics, chemistry, and biology to link the biology of individual organisms to the ecology and evolution of populations, communities, and ecosystems. Here I present a model for how metabolic rate varies with body size and temperature. This model can be extended to predict other ecological and evolutionary rate processes at higher levels of organization, including rates of population growth, food web dynamics, and rates of nutrient cycling in ecosystems. I will give two examples by showing how this model can predict rates of molecular evolution, as well as the storage and flux of phosphorus in organisms. I will conclude by speculating how metabolic theory can provide other insights into the structure and function of ecological communities.