Shifts in metabolic scaling, production, and efficiency across major evolutionary transitions of life

John P. DeLong, Jordan G. Okie, Melanie E. Moses, Richard M. Sibly, James H. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

172 Scopus citations

Abstract

The diversification of life involved enormous increases in size and complexity. The evolutionary transitions from prokaryotes to unicellular eukaryotes to metazoans were accompanied by major innovations in metabolic design. Here we show that the scalings of metabolic rate, population growth rate, and production efficiency with body size have changed across the evolutionary transitions. Metabolic rate scales with body mass superlinearly in prokaryotes, linearly in protists, and sublinearly in metazoans, so Kleiber's 3/4 power scaling law does not apply universally across organisms. The scaling of maximum population growth rate shifts from positive in prokaryotes to negative in protists and metazoans, and the efficiency of production declines across these groups. Major changes in metabolic processes during the early evolution of life overcame existing constraints, exploited new opportunities, and imposed new constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12941-12945
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume107
Issue number29
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 20 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Endosymbiosis
  • Energetic constraints
  • Multicellularity
  • Production efficiency
  • R

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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