Switching of metabolic-rate scaling between allometry and isometry in colonial ascidians

TitleSwitching of metabolic-rate scaling between allometry and isometry in colonial ascidians
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
Refereed DesignationRefereed
AuthorsNakaya, F., Saito Y., & Motokawa T.
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Pagination1105 - 1113
Date Published06/2003

The metabolic rate and its scaling relationship to colony size were studied in the colonial ascidian Botrylloides simodensis. The colonial metabolic rate, measured by the oxygen consumption rate (V-o2 in millilitres of O-2 per hour) and the colony mass (wet weight M-w in grams) showed the allometric relationship (V-o2 = 0.0412 M-w(0.799). The power coefficient was statistically not different from 0.75, the value for unitary organisms. The size of the zooids and the tunic volume fraction in a colony were kept constant irrespective of the colonial size. These results, together with the two-dimensional colonial shape, excluded shape factors and colonial composition as possible causes of allometry. Botryllid ascidians show a takeover state in which all the zooids of the parent generation in a colony degenerate and zooids of a new generation develop in unison. The media for connection between zooids such as a common drainage system and connecting vessels to the common vascular system experienced reconstruction. The metabolic rate during the takeover state was halved and was directly proportional to the colonial mass. The scaling thus changed from being allometric to isometric. The alteration in the scaling that was associated with the loss of the connection between the zooids strongly support the hypothesis that the allometry was derived from mutual interaction among the zooids. The applicability of this hypothesis to unitary organisms is discussed.

Short TitleProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences