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Microgeographic evolution of metabolic physiology in a salamander metapopulation


Giery, Sean; Drake, Dana; Urban, Mark (2021), Microgeographic evolution of metabolic physiology in a salamander metapopulation, Dryad, Dataset,


The Metabolic Theory of Ecology explains ecological variation spanning taxonomic organization, space, and time based on universal physiological relationships. The theory depends on two core parameters: the normalization constant, a mass-independent measure of metabolic rate expected to be invariant among similar species, and the scaling coefficient, a measure of metabolic change with body mass commonly assumed to follow the universal ¾ scaling law. In this study, we explored evidence for evolved variation in these parameters in a spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) metapopulation in Connecticut, USA. To test our hypothesis, we measured standard metabolic rate in common-garden raised spotted salamanders from 22 different populations and tested for effects of six ecological variables suspected in advance to select for divergent physiology. We found that metabolic rate rose with body mass with a log-log slope of 0.97 that was statistically different from the expected ¾ scaling law. Although we found no evidence for interpopulation variation in the scaling coefficient, we found evidence for interpopulation variation in the normalization constants among populations. Metabolic variation was best explained by differences in population density among ponds. Our results provide mixed support for Metabolic Theory of Ecology assumptions about parameter invariance and illustrate how fundamental physiological processes such as metabolic rate can evolve across microgeographic spatial scales.


See publication for detailed methods.

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Missing values in .csv file indicated with 'NA'. Variable names and measurement units in associated ReadMe.doc file.


National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1555876