Resource Allocation

I. Resource Budget

II. Allocation of Assimilated Resources

A. Resource Acquisition

B. Mating Activity

C. Reproductive and Social Behavior

D. Competitive, Defensive, and Mutualistic Behavior

III. Efficiency of Resource Use

A. Factors Affecting Efficiency

B. Tradeoffs

IV. Summary

INSECTS ALLOCATE ACQUIRED RESOURCES IN VARIOUS WAYS, DEPENDING on the energy and nutrient requirements of their physiological and behavioral processes. In addition to basic metabolism, foraging, growth, and reproduction, individual organisms also allocate resources to pathways that influence their interactions with other organisms and abiotic nutrient pools (Elser et al. 1996).

It is interesting that much of the early data on energy and nutrient allocation by insects was a byproduct of studies during 1950 to 1970 on anticipated effects of nuclear war on radioisotope movement through ecosystems (e.g., Crossley and Howden 1961, Crossley and Witkamp 1964). Research also addressed effects of radioactive fallout on organisms that affect human health and food supply. Radiation effects on insects and other arthropods were perceived to be of special concern because of the recognized importance of these organisms to human health and crop production. Radioactive isotopes, such as 31P, 137Cs (assimilated and allocated as is K), and 85Sr (assimilated and allocated as is Ca), became useful tools for tracking the assimilation and allocation of nutrients through organisms, food webs, and ecosystems.

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