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Processes Responsible for Patterns in Body Mass Distributions

Processes Responsible for Patterns in Body Mass Distributions

Chapter:
(p.168) Chapter Seven Processes Responsible for Patterns in Body Mass Distributions
Source:
Animal Body Size
Author(s):
Brian A. MaurerPablo A. Marquet
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226012285.003.0008

This chapter develops a framework to establish the relative contributions of different kinds of processes to the patterns in body size variation seen within particular collections of species. These processes can be grouped into three major categories: external processes and states, related to the biotic and abiotic environment wherein the target biological entity unfolds; internal processes and states, or those built-in processes necessary to maintain the biological entity's structure, function, and fitness; and historical processes that describe the trajectory of the two-way interaction between the biological entity and its environment through time. These three kinds of processes define the phase space wherein the system drifts or, more precisely, where we as observers make it understandable (i.e., they define an explanatory domain).

Keywords:   body size variation, external processes, biotic environment, abiotic environment, internal processes, historical processes

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