Biodiversity Through a Whole New Dimension: Body Size, Feeding Rates

Biodiversity Through a Whole New Dimension: Body Size, Feeding Rates

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How can blue whales, the largest animals on the planet, survive by feeding on krill, shrimp-like creatures that are the size of a penny? According to UCLA life scientists, it’s all a matter of dimensions.

In findings published in the journal Nature, the researchers demonstrate for the first time that the relationship between animals’ body size and their feeding rate — the overall amount of food they consume per unit of time — is largely determined by the properties of the space in which they search for their food. An animal searching for food in a three-dimensional space, like the ocean or sky, is likely to consume much more than a similarly sized animal searching in a flat, two-dimensional space, like a savannah or a sea bed, they found.

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