Marine Biology

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 97–104 | Cite as

Potential trophic biomasses and trace-substance concentrations in unstructured marine food webs

  • J. D. Isaacs


It is proposed that unstructured food webs may more closely resemble real marine food webs than does the conventional, structured model. An unstructured food-web model leads to a set of very simple expressions for the potential partition of matter in the food web in steady state, including the potential fluxes of material and biomasses of trophic types and the concentration of trace substances in the members and materials of such a food web. The approach may explain some anomalies of relative predator-prey biomasses and of trace-element distribution, and may be of further use for analyzing and predicting (a) the tropho-dynamic parameters of marine systems, (b) the trophic positions, and the steadystate fluxes and biomasses of marine organisms, (c) the distribution of trace materials in marine biota; and for relating findings among these areas. Other matters, such as limitations of food conversion, indicated by concentration factors of trace substances, the possibilities of non-causal association of anomalously high levels of trace substances (including pollutants) with diseased or otherwise abnormal marine creatures, and an inverse relationship of early concentrations of newly introduced trace substances and their eventual concentrations in various organisms, are also developed in this approach.


Biomass Marine Biota Concentration Factor Marine Organism Trophic Position 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Isaacs
    • 1
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of CaliforniaLa JollaUSA

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