size reflects complex and dynamic tradeoffs between physiology, life history,
environment, phylogenetic constraints, and past geologic and climatic history.
Nevertheless, certain ‘invariant’ size-dependent scaling
relationships are repeatedly observed for mammals and other taxa. Do
these patterns arise because of common ancestry (phylogeny), because organisms
exist in similar environments, or because they face similar design or life
history constraints? The intellectual merit of our IMPPS Research
Coordination Network stems from our investigation of the influence of various
intrinsic and extrinsic factors in generating ‘invariant’ body
size patterns of mammals across vastly different scales of space and time.
In addition to exploring commonalities in size distributions, our
RCN will examine constraints setting minimum and maximum size for terrestrial,
volant, and marine mammals, and develop statistical approaches for dealing
with “natural” and non-replicated data.