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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Master Equation for All Life Processes?
In "Life on the Scales," Science News recently wrote that some simple mathematical equations, known as quarter-power scaling laws, can explain the metabolic rates of living organisms. For example, "an animal's metabolic rate appears to be proportional to mass to the 3/4 power." And this "3/4-power law appears to hold sway from microbes to whales, creatures of sizes ranging over a mind-boggling 21 orders of magnitude."

The ecologists, physicists and chemists behind this research are now successfully applying this equation to plants, fish, full ecosystems and even biology and genetics, by adding a new key parameter: temperature. Please read this fascinating article for many more details and references.

But save some time to read another long article, "Ecology's Big, Hot Idea," published by PLoS Biology, which states that "the way life uses energy is a unifying principle for ecology in the same way that genetics underpins evolutionary biology."

If you don't have enough time today to read these two long and dense articles before next weekend, here are some selected excerpts.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 8:16 AM Comments (0)
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