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

Lauren Barth on a boat
Monday, March 21, 2016 - 8:06am

Would it surprise you to know that there is a rigorous theory underlying the observation that in nature big organisms are much rarer than small ones? In a new paper, PhD student Lauren Barth and her advisor Prof. Gary Sprules review much of the research on the Biomass Size Spectrum, a theory of ecosystem structure and function based solely on the body size of organisms that has been a focus of investigation in the Sprules’ lab. Their paper “Surfing the biomass size spectrum: some remarks on history, theory, and application” was recently published in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences. In the paper they review the origins and development of the theory, describe the mathematical concepts underpinning it, review a number of applications to the study of aquatic ecosystems, and recommend methods of sampling and data analysis to facilitate comparison of body size patterns across ecosystems. They do nothing short of laying the groundwork for the next generation of research on understanding the size-diversity spectrum. Congratulations on this achievement!