An upper limit to the abundance of aquatic organisms

C. M. Duarte*, S. Agusti, H. Peters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The maximum density achievable by aquatic organisms is an inverse linear function of their body size. As a consequence, the maximum achievable biomass is independent of body size, and is 2 orders of magnitude higher than the biomass in natural populations. The minimum interorganismic terorganismic distance, calculated from the maximum density to allow comparison between aquatic and terrestrial organisms, scales as the 1/3 power of body size in both habitats. The similarities in the interorganismic distance of terrestrial and aquatic plant and animal communities suggest a fundamental regularity in the way organisms use the space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-276
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquatic organisms, maximum density maximum biomass, interorganismic distance
  • Body size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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