An allometric model for seed plant reproduction

Karl J. Niklas, Brian J. Enquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


An allometric framework is used to construct a model for seed plant annual reproductive biomass based on standing leaf, stem and root biomass. According to this model, the scaling of reproduction is governed by numerous taxon-specific scaling exponents and constants that reflect the allometry of vegetative biomass partitioning. Although this allometry cannot be predicted a priori, the model accurately predicts all observed inter- and intraspecific reproductive biomass trends based on the exponents and constants determined for a worldwide database representative of herbaceous and tree-sized dicot, monocot and conifer species growing in diverse habitats. The model also identifies the body proportions for which reproduction is energetically untenable. The limits for seed plant reproductive biomass are thus established, providing a conceptual and quantitative basis for understanding the scaling of reproductive capacity across and within ecologically and evolutionarily diverse spermatophytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Allometry
  • Plants
  • Reproductive biomass
  • Scaling
  • Vegetative biomass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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