MacroStoichiometry: Global-scale latitudinal patterns in the stoichiometry of life

Macro-stoichiometry of invertebratesChemical elements, and the complexes they form, are the building blocks of living organisms. Although all living organisms are composed by the same main chemical elements, they differ quite widely in the proportion of these chemical substances in their biomass. Large-scale patterns in plant nutrient content have revealed a strong influence of climate and geology on plant ecology. To date; however, we know relatively little about geographic patterns of variation in the stoichiometry of animals. We are using two approaches to study geographic patterns in organismal stoichiometry: (1) Using invertebrate nutrient content data from five widely spread tank bromeliad locations across South-Central America (The Bromeliad Working Group), we tested whether insect body size, phylogeny, and functional group drive organism stoichiometry or whether organisms reflect local availability of nutrients (read paper here); (2) Using a global dataset, consisting of more than 15,000 observations to date of organism C,  N and P content. We seek to explore: (i) what are the broad latitudinal patterns of metazoan stoichiometry; and Given the main role of N and P in the metabolism, growth, and development of organisms, we also looked for (ii) a relationship between organismal elemental content within and across taxonomical groups and habitats; and (iii) Stoichiometric niche spaces.

Top