A unifying approach to allometric scaling of resource ingestion rates under limiting conditions

Alberto Basset, Francesco Cozzoli, Francesco Paparella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individual resource ingestion rates depend on both individual body size and resource supply. A component of the latter, namely resource availability, is also body-size dependent. This raises the question of the adequacy of simple scaling laws to describe the body-size dependency of resource ingestion. Here we propose a model which integrates resource ingestion drivers by merging a scaling law for feeding metabolism and Holling's functional responses into a single mathematical framework. At any fixed level of resource supply, the model predicts a log-log concave-down relationship between resource ingestion rates and body size, rather than a simple scaling law. Deviations from the latter are accounted for by the body size dependency of resource limitations. Experimental and literature data describing patterns of perceived resource availability and individual intake rates under limiting conditions with increasing individual body size are used to validate the model's assumptions and predictions. The model incorporates and extends well-established theoretical approaches and is intended as a step towards the integration of metabolic theory with behavioral ecology and population dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2012


  • Body size
  • Holling's functional response
  • Individual-based resource perception
  • Kleiber's law
  • Metabolic theory
  • Resource availability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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