A unified framework for herbivore-to-producer biomass ratio reveals the relative influence of four ecological factors

Takehiro Kazama, Jotaro Urabe, Masato Yamamichi, Kotaro Tokita, Xuwang Yin, Izumi Katano, Hideyuki Doi, Takehito Yoshida, Nelson G. Hairston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The biomass ratio of herbivores to primary producers reflects the structure of a community. Four primary factors have been proposed to affect this ratio, including production rate, defense traits and nutrient contents of producers, and predation by carnivores. However, identifying the joint effects of these factors across natural communities has been elusive, in part because of the lack of a framework for examining their effects simultaneously. Here, we develop a framework based on Lotka–Volterra equations for examining the effects of these factors on the biomass ratio. We then utilize it to test if these factors simultaneously affect the biomass ratio of freshwater plankton communities. We found that all four factors contributed significantly to the biomass ratio, with carnivore abundance having the greatest effect, followed by producer stoichiometric nutrient content. Thus, the present framework should be useful for examining the multiple factors shaping various types of communities, both aquatic and terrestrial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
JournalCommunications Biology
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine(all)

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