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          Institute: MPI für Evolutionsbiologie     Collection: Ecophysiology     Display Documents

ID: 176029.0, MPI für Evolutionsbiologie / Ecophysiology
Stoichiometry: Linking elements to biochemicals
Authors:Anderson, Thomas R.; Boersma, Maarten; Raubenheimer, David
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2004-05
Title of Journal:Ecology
Issue / Number:5
Start Page:1193
End Page:1202
Review Status:not specified
Audience:Not Specified
Abstract / Description:Ecological stoichiometry is a useful tool for studying how the elemental composition of organisms and their food affects production, nutrient cycling, and food-web dynamics. Two analyses are presented here that show that the use of simple element ratios in stoichiometric calculations may in certain circumstances prove inadequate because of the influence in animal nutrition of biochemical aspects of diet. In the first, a stoichiometric analysis of herbivores consuming food with varying carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratios is undertaken, in which the intake of C is segregated into easily assimilated compounds and fiber. Two herbivore strategies emerge from the analysis, both as a means of minimizing limitation by C, not N: fiber eaters that consume high C:N food and have efficient fiber digestion, and selective feeders that consume low C:N food but that do not possess fiber-digesting enzymes. In the second example, the stoichiometric axiom that a single substrate, the one in least supply relative to demand, limits growth is used to identify potentially limiting essential amino acids in the diets of a range of animals. Large consumer-prey imbalances in amino acids were found in several cases, indicating that, at least in theory, growth should be strongly limited by individual amino acids rather than bulk N. In practice such limitation may be offset in consumers by physiological and other factors such as symbiotic relationships. The two analyses emphasize the simplicity of element stoichiometry, highlighting the need to consider biochemical and physiological arguments when undertaking stoichiometric studies of carbon and nutrient transfers in ecosystems.
Free Keywords:amino acids; C : N ratios in food; growth limitation; nitrogen limitation; nutrient cycling; stoichiometry
External Publication Status:published
Document Type:Article
Affiliations:MPI für Limnologie/Abt. Ökophysiologie
External Affiliations:Southampton Oceanog Ctr, Waterfront Campus,European Way, Southampton, Hants SO14 3ZH England; Alfred Wegener Inst Polar & Marine Res, Biol Anstalt Helgoland, Helgoland, D-27483 Germany; Univ Oxford, Dept Zool, Oxford, OX1 3PS England
Identifiers:ISSN:0012-9658 [ID-No:1]
LOCALID:2303/S 38178 [Listen-Nummer/S-Nummer]
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