EPA Science Inventory

THE MAXIMIUM POWER PRINCIPLE: AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION

Citation:

Cai, T, C. L. Montague, AND J. S. Davis. THE MAXIMIUM POWER PRINCIPLE: AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION. ECOLOGICAL MODELLING. Elsevier Science BV, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 190:317-335, (2006).

Description:

The maximum power principle is a potential guide to understanding the patterns and processes of ecosystem development and sustainability. The principle predicts the selective persistence of ecosystem designs that capture a previously untapped energy source. This hypothesis was investigated empirically in controlled and replicated tests conducted in planktonic microcosms. Microecosystems that develop under pH-controlled light regime, in which light duration was altered based on changes in an ecosystem-controlled variable (water column pH), were compared with those that developed under fixed photoperiods. According to the principle, pH-decreasing (and power-increasing) organization should selectively persist under pH-controlled light. To assess changes in pH dynamics that occurred under alternative selection regime, in which photoperiods were not linked with ph-affecting selection of organization, the microecosystems that developed under fixed photoperiods were subjected to pH-controlled light on the last day of each test. The daily light duration increase 506 min on average in microecosystems that developed under pH-controlled light and 412 min on average in microecosystems that developed under fixed photoperiods. Selective reinforcement of acid-secreting blue-green algae in repsonse to CO2 and nutrient limitations could account for the greater increase in power aquistition in microecosystems that developed under ph-controlled light.

Purpose/Objective:

To investigate and explain maximum power principle, a potential guide to understanding the patterns and processes of ecosystem development and sustainability

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 01/01/2006
Completion Date: 01/01/2006
Record Last Revised: 08/07/2006
Record Created: 12/08/2004
Record Released: 12/08/2004
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 105023

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

WATERSHED DIAGNOSTICS BRANCH