A.M. de Roos
- Ontogenetic asymmetry modulates population biomass production and response to harvest
- Nature Communications
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Patterns in biomass production are determined by resource input (productivity) and trophic transfer efficiency. At fixed resource input, variation in consumer biomass production has been related to food quality, metabolic type and diversity among species. In contrast, intraspecific variation in individual body size because of ontogenetic development, which characterizes the overwhelming majority of taxa, has been largely neglected. Here we show experimentally in a long-term multigenerational study that reallocating constant resource input in a two-stage consumer system from an equal resource delivery to juveniles and adults to an adult-biased resource delivery is sufficient to cause more than a doubling of total consumer biomass. We discuss how such changes in consumer stage-specific resource allocation affect the likelihood for alternative stable states in harvested populations as a consequence of stage-specific overcompensation in consumer biomass and thereby the risk of catastrophic collapses in exploited populations.
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