NCEAS Project 2460

Allometry

  • James H. Brown

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Sabbatical Fellow1st September 1999—15th January 2000Participant List  
Visitor26th October—15th December 1999Participant List  
Undergraduate Intern1st February—30th April 2000Participant List  
Meeting31st May—1st June 2000Participant List  
Visitor26th—30th June 2000Participant List  
Undergraduate Intern1st October—31st December 2000Participant List  

Abstract
I propose to spend my next sabbatical leave, due in the Fall Semester of 1999, at The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). The main reason for spending the sabbatical at NCEAS is that the center provides the best environment for the work I hope to accomplish. Foremost, I want to continue my collaborative work on allometry with Geoffrey B. West, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), and Brian Enquist, my recent Ph.D. student who has a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship that he will spend largely at SFI. My unwillingness to interrupt this unique interdisciplinary collaboration leads me to spend my sabbatical at a place that can offer active support, in part by providing a conducive place where Geoff and I can visit and we can work together for extended periods. Unfortunately, Geoff cannot spend the entire period at NCEAS (the joint sabbatical model), because of his appointment at LANL and family commitments.

I want to do two things while at NCEAS: 1) work with Geoff and Brian to carry our models of allometric scaling in biology to the next stage, which involves applications of life history, and evolution; and 2) collaborate with Geoff to write a book tentatively titled, Scale of Life. Our research is advancing so rapidly that we are not sure just how much we will have been able to accomplish in the next year. It is important, however, that progress not be seriously interrupted, as it would be if I went abroad for a sabbatical. We could advance more rapidly if Geoff and I could devote more time to our collaboration. Therefore, I propose to spend the 4 months of my sabbatical (September 1, 1999 to January 1, 2000) at NCEAS, and to bring Geoff in for two extended periods of one month each so that we can work together. Whatever the stage of our theoretical work, we believe that we should be able to make much additional progress in periods of intensive collaboration in the conducive environment of NCEAS and Santa Barbara. It is also not clear where Brian will take his program in the next year or two. If additional collaboration with Geoff and me would be of mutual benefit, however, his NSF postdoctoral Fellowship will enable him to spend the necessary time at NCEAS.

The first goal, then, is to advance our collaborative theoretical research as rapidly as possible. Initially, we will focus on ecological and life history consequences of both. Eventually, we hope to explain the central role of body size and allometric scaling in diversity. This is fundamental, because living organisms range in size over an amazing amount of magnitude, from 10-13 g microbes to 108 g whales, and because species diversity is constrained by size: there are more kinds of beetles than elephants. As a second goal, Geoff and I plan to start work on a book, tentatively titled The Scale of Life. This would be a synthetic "essay" written for a wide audience of biologists and others with an interest in biology. In its level of approach and broad treatment, it would be similar to Schmidt-Nielsen's (1984) classic book, Scaling: Why Animal Size is so Important. However, it would differ in several essential respects. First, it would have much broader coverage with more underlying physical principles, with plants as well as animals, and with eco-evolutionary as well as anatomical and physiological aspects of allometry. Second, it uses our model as a common theoretical basis for exploring a wide variety of biological scale relationships. Finally, it will presumable be able to offer a more synthetic treatment of myriad consequences of body size.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Brown, James H. 2001. Mammals on mountainsides: Elevational patterns of diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography. Vol: 10. Pages 101-109.
Journal Article Brown, James H.; Ernest, S. K. Morgan; Parody, Jennifer M.; Haskell, John P. 2001. Regulation of diversity: Maintenance of species richness in changing environments. Oecologia. Vol: 126(3). Pages 321-332.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 1999. Topic: Allometry, December 1999. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 1999. Topic: Allometry, November 1999. Department of Biology, University of Texas, Austin. Austin, Tx.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 1999. Topic: Allometry, October 1999. Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge, MA.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2000. Topic: Allometry, January 2000. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University. New Haven, CT.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2000. Topic: Allometry, January 2000. Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego. San Diego, CA.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2000. Topic: Allometry, September 2000. BioComplexity Group Seminar. Department of Biology, University of New Mexico.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2001. Topic: Allometry, August 2001. Dr. Jean Carlson's Biophysics Lab Group, Physics Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara, CA.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2001. Topic: Allometry, March 2001. Tree-Ring Laboratory, University of Arizona.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2001. Topic: Allometry, May 2001. Department of Geography and the Ecology Program, Oxford University. Oxford, UK.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2001. Topic: Allometry, October 2001. Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS), Conservation International. Washington, D.C..
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2001. Topic: Allometry, October 2001. Physics Department Colloquium. University of Arizona.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2002. Topic: Allometry, April 2002. Biology Department, Aberdeen University. Scotland, UK.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2002. Topic: Allometry, February 2002. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries/Range Management, Texas A&M University. College Station, Tx.
Presentations Enquist, Brian J. 2002. Topic: Allometry, March 2002. Department of Biology, Arizona State University.
Journal Article Kelt, D. A.; Brown, James H. 2000. Species as units of analysis in ecology and biogeography: Are the blind leading the blind?. Global Ecology and Biogeography. Vol: 9(3). Pages 213-217.
Journal Article Leffler, A. Joshua; Enquist, Brian J. 2002. Carbon isotope composition of tree leaves from Guanacaste, Costa Rica: Comparison across tropical forests and tree life history. Journal of Tropical Ecology. Vol: 18. Pages 151-159.
Presentations Peet, Robert K. 2001. Plenary talk. AIBS Meeting, March 2001.
Journal Article Sax, Dov F.; Gaines, Steven D.; Brown, James H. 2002. Species invasions exceed extinctions on islands worldwide: A comparative study of plants and birds. American Naturalist. Vol: 160(6). Pages 766-783.
Journal Article West, Geoffrey B.; Brown, James H.; Enquist, Brian J. 2001. A general model for ontogenetic growth. Nature. Vol: 413. Pages 628-631.