Acta Biotheoretica 32 (1):13-28 (1983)
The net uptake and loss of any element by a living organism can be described as the quotient of the total amount of the element, present in the organism, and its residence time in the organism. Theoretically it can be derived that the residence time i , equals V i 1–b /k, in which b, the morphometric coefficient, is related to size and shape of the organism (volume V i ); k, the turnover coefficient, is related to its metabolic activity. The net uptake or excretion, i , of an element then follows from = k C i V i b , C i being the (average, whole animal) concentration of the element.Residence times, derived from the quotient of body volume (weight) and daily food intake of various animal species of different sizes, show that, independent of animal or element species, the morphometric coefficient and turnover coefficient have values of b = 0.735 and k = 71.4 dm. year-1 respectively. The turnover coefficient may show some variation, related to the metabolic activity of the organism. The value of the morphometric coefficient implies that residence times may vary with body size: in small animals the residence times of the elements may be in the order of several hours, whereas in the largest organisms residence times may be as long as several years.
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