Upcoming meetings on metabolic scaling and ecology

There are a couple of upcoming meetings (or sessions of meetings) related to metabolic scaling and it’s relationship with/to ecology that I thought might be of some interest.

The first is  a symposium at the 2010 Society for Experimental Biology conference in Prague on the relationship between the scaling of metabolic rate with body size in organisms and the ecology of those organisms. According to the flyer that one of the organizers (Shaun Killen) sent me

The scaling of metabolic rate with body size has been a central research theme in biology for over a century. Recently there has been a particular interest in how patterns of metabolic scaling at the individual level may affect ecological phenomena and, in turn, how environmental factors may influence changes in metabolic rate with body size. The purpose of this symposium is to review recent evidence of these relationships, and to exchange ideas regarding the underlying factors that cause the observed patterns of metabolic scaling both between and within taxa. The scaling of metabolic rate with body size has been a central research theme in biology for over a century. Recently there has been a particular interest in how patterns of metabolic scaling at the individual level may affect ecological phenomena and, in turn, how environmental factors may influence changes in metabolic rate with body size. The purpose of this symposium is to review recent evidence of these relationships, and to exchange ideas regarding the underlying factors that cause the observed patterns of metabolic scaling both between and within taxa.

The meeting is June 30th – July 3rd in Prague and registration is now open.

The other is the biennial Gordon Research Conference on the Metabolic Basis of Ecology and Evolution, schedule for July 18th-23rd in Biddeford, Maine. If you haven’t been to a Gordon Conference before, these are really amazing conferences. The number of participants is limited (I think it’s about 100-150 people) and the format is specifically designed to engender discussion and interaction among the participants (every one eats meals together, stays in dorms together, etc). This year our own Morgan Ernest will be giving a talk in the section on Regulation of Metabolic Systems Across Scales. You’ll have to apply and be accepted in order to participate and the talks are invite only so posters are the only general option for presentation (both of which are a little strange in ecology circles), but it’s definitely the best conference I go to so it’s well worth the effort.

One Comment on “Upcoming meetings on metabolic scaling and ecology

  1. In both cases the attendees and lecturers will argue for or against 1. the universality of the exponent 3/4, and 2. how it may be tailored to connect the organism with its ecology. These issues are dealt with quite succinctly through an alteration in the mathematics, by inclusion in the exponent of the term for metabolic efficiency, a redox coupling ratio. The denominator of this ratio, a ratio of amperes to amperes, represents the environment, while the numerator represents what the biomass can do with what is out there. Changes in either effect the size and behavior of the biomass. This is covered in paper that appeared in the journal Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, last August, entitled “The terrestrial evolution of metabolism and life – by the numbers.” The essay implies that valid allometric scaling of metabolism cannot occur apart from environmental considerations and activity levels, and that attempts to join these two things (both being key issues in the upcoming conferences) only have traction because both the math is wrong and the approach to the metabolism of life sees is as too decontextualized in terms of energy availability.

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