IMIS | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research


Publications | Institutes | Persons | Datasets | Projects | Maps
[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Printer-friendly version

The island rule and the evolution of body size in the deep sea
McClain, C.R.; Boyer, A.G.; Rosenberg, G. (2006). The island rule and the evolution of body size in the deep sea. J. Biogeogr. 33(9): 1578-1584.
In: Journal of Biogeography. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford. ISSN 0305-0270, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Gastropoda [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Bathymetric;depth;dwarfism;food availability;gastropods;gigantism;macroecology;Malacolog;miniaturization;resource limitation;size constraints

Authors  Top 
  • McClain, C.R.
  • Boyer, A.G.
  • Rosenberg, G., more

    Aim Our goal is to test the generality of the island rule – a graded trend from gigantism in small-bodied species to dwarfism in large-bodied species – in the deep sea, a non-insular but potentially analogous system.Location Shallow-water and deep-sea benthic habitats in the western Atlantic Ocean from the North to South Poles.Methods We conducted regression analyses of body size of deep-sea gastropods species relative to their shallow-water congeners using measurements from the Malacolog ver. 3.3.3 database.Results Our results indicate that, consistent with the island rule, gastropod genera with small-bodied, shallow-water species have significantly larger deep-sea representatives, while the opposite is true for genera that are large-bodied in shallow water. Bathymetric body size clines within the deep sea are also consistent with predictions based on the island rule.Main conclusions Like islands, the deep sea is characterized by low absolute food availability, leading us to hypothesize that the island rule is a result of selection on body size in a resource-constrained environment. The body size of deep-sea species tends to converge on an optimal size for their particular ecological strategy and habitat.

All data in IMIS is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors