Biodiv Sci ›› 2008, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (5): 437-445.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.08119

Special Issue: 物种形成与系统进化

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Advances of species richness regulated by the metabolic rate

Zhang Qiang, Ma Renyi, Ji Mingfei, Deng Jianming()   

  1. Laboratory of Arid and Grassland Agroecology, Lanzhou University, Ministry of Education, Lanzhou 730000
  • Received:2008-05-21 Accepted:2008-08-08 Online:2008-09-20 Published:2008-09-20
  • Contact: Deng Jianming


A fascinating issue for ecologists is to develop a general theory exploring the mechanisms of formation and stabilization of biodiversity. Although diverse hypotheses have been proposed to account for the geographic distribution of biodiversity, many of them are not applicable to all species or under a variety of conditions. The metabolic rate hypothesis is a recently-developed hypothesis that can quantify relationships between the dynamic processes of individual and population evolution and patterns of biodiversity, and between species richness and environmental factors. This theory is based on the energetic-equivalence rule and fractal-like distribution network models, and can not only explain the origin of biodiversity but also the maintenance of biodiversity. Herein, we analyze and compare this new hypothesis to other related hypotheses of metabolism-biodiversity theory. We suggest that this hypothesis is more likely to become a unified theory explaining the formation of biological diversity than others we assessed. We also discuss important issues relevant to further advancing the area of metabolism-biodiversity theory.

Key words: biodiversity, metabolic rate hypothesis, species richness, metabolic theory