Stoichiometry of endothermy : shifting the quest from nitrogen to carbon

Klaassen, Marcel and Nolet, Bart A. 2008, Stoichiometry of endothermy : shifting the quest from nitrogen to carbon, Ecology letters, vol. 11, no. 8, pp. 785-792, doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01180.x.

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Title Stoichiometry of endothermy : shifting the quest from nitrogen to carbon
Author(s) Klaassen, MarcelORCID iD for Klaassen, Marcel
Nolet, Bart A.
Journal name Ecology letters
Volume number 11
Issue number 8
Start page 785
End page 792
Total pages 8
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2008-08
ISSN 1461-023X
Keyword(s) biological stoichiometry
C : N ratio
energy requirements
evolution of endothermy
N : C ratio
nitrogen requirements
Summary For many animals, notably herbivores, plants are often an inadequate food source given the low content of protein and high content of C-rich material. This conception is mainly based on studies on ectotherms. The validity of this conception for endotherms is unclear given their much higher carbon requirements for maintenance energy metabolism than ectotherms. Applying stoichiometric principles, we hypothesized that endotherms can cope with diets with much higher (metabolizable) carbon to nitrogen ratios than ectotherms. Using empirical data on birds, eutherian mammals, marsupials and reptiles, we compiled and compared measurements and allometric equations for energy metabolism as well as nitrogen requirements. Our analysis supports our hypothesis that plants, and especially their leaves, are generally sufficiently rich in nitrogen to fulfil protein demands in endotherms, at least during maintenance conditions, but less so in ectotherms. This has important implications with respect to community functioning and the evolution of endothermy.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01180.x
Field of Research 060203 Ecological Physiology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Blackwell Publishing
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