Surfing the biomass size spectrum: some remarks on history, theory, and application

William Gary Sprules, Lauren Emily Barth, Henrique Giacomini
2016 Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 12 Charles Elton introduced the 'pyramid of numbers' in the late 1920s but this remarkable insight 13 into body-size dependent patterns in natural communities lay fallow until the theory of the biomass size 14 spectrum was introduced by aquatic ecologists in the mid-1960s. They noticed that the summed 15 biomass concentration of individual aquatic organisms was roughly constant across equal
more » ... ic 16 intervals of body size from bacteria to the largest predators. These observations formed the basis for a 17 theory of aquatic ecosystems, based on the body size of individual organisms, that revealed new insights 18 into constraints on the structure of biological communities. In this review we discuss the history of the 19 biomass spectrum and the development of underlying theories. We indicate how to construct biomass 20 spectra from sample data, explain the mathematical relations among them, show empirical examples of 21 their various forms, and give details on how to statistically fit the most robust linear and nonlinear 22 models to biomass spectra. We finish by giving examples of biomass spectrum applications to 23 production and fisheries ecology, and offering recommendations to help standardize use of the biomass 24 spectrum in aquatic ecology. 25 26
doi:10.1139/cjfas-2015-0115 fatcat:5kpox5d7jnb45eya6zpvh5hs34