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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


NESPOLO, ROBERTO F.  and  ARTACHO, PAULINA. How general are current comparative physiology studies?: A quantitative review. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2005, vol.78, n.2, pp.313-321. ISSN 0716-078X.

Comparative animal physiology and related fields (named here "ecological physiology") are entering a time of synthesis in the form of a quest for large scales patterns. However, these new approaches need to be supplied by great amounts of data, representative of existing animal forms. We tested whether this is the case by performing a quantitative survey in the most important media for ecological physiologists. We found that ecological physiologists have clear biases toward some taxonomic classes, which represent one third of existing animal phyla. Non-taxonomic characterization of animals (endothermy/ectothermy, aquatic/terrestrial), however, produced a more balanced picture. In addition, ecological physiologists appear to be mostly intraspecific biologists since the great majority of studies were performed in one species. Multispecific studies were the minority and comparable to two - species comparative studies. The later are still being published despite to have been strongly criticized in the past. Cross-tabulation analysis yielded results suggesting that natural populations, vertebrates and terrestrial animals are preferred over artificial populations, aquatic animals and invertebrates. Although we recognize the limitations of our survey, it has the value to indicate that historical biases need to be taken in consideration if more global approaches are being undertaking in this discipline

Keywords : comparative physiology; macrophysiology; endotherms; ectotherms; evolutionary physiology; physiological ecology.

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