Choice of resolution by functional trait or taxonomy affects allometric scaling in soil webs

  • V. Sechi (Creator)
  • L. Brussaard (Creator)
  • Ron de Goede (Creator)
  • M. Rutgers (Creator)
  • C. Mulder (Creator)



Belowground organisms often display a shift in their mass-abundance scaling relationships due to environmental factors such as soil chemistry and atmospheric deposition. Here we present new empirical data that show strong differences in allometric scaling according to whether the resolution at the local scale is based on a taxonomic or a functional classification, while only slight differences arise according to soil environmental conditions. For the first time, isometry (an inverse 1∶1 proportion) is recognized in mass-abundance relationships, providing a functional signal for constant biomass distribution in soil biota regardless of discrete trophic levels. Our findings are in contrast to those from aquatic ecosystems, in that higher trophic levels in soil biota are not a direct function of increasing body mass.
Date made available2014
PublisherWageningen UR


  • mass-abundance scaling
  • food webs
  • functional assemblages
  • soil biota
  • unmanaged grasslands
  • traits
  • functional diversity
  • allometry
  • trophic position
  • body size
  • isometry

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