Scaling in Biology

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Oxford University Press, 2000 - Medical - 352 pages
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Scaling relationships have been a persistent theme in biology at least since the time of Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo. Because scaling relationships are among the most general empirical patterns in biology, they have stimulated research to develop mechanistic hypotheses and mathematical models. While there have been many excellent empirical and theoretical investigations, there has been little attempt to synthesize this diverse but interrelated area of biology. In an effort to fill this void, Scaling in Biology, the first general treatment of scaling in biology in over 15 years, covers a broad spectrum of the most relevant topics in a series of chapters written by experts in the field. Some of those topics discussed include allometry and fractal structure, branching of vascular systems of mammals and plants, biomechanical and life history of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, and species-area patterns of biological diversity. Many more examples are included within this text to complete the broader picture. Scaling in Biology conveys the diversity, promise, and excitement of current research in this area, in a format accessible to a wide audience of not only specialists in the various sub-disciplines, but also students and anyone with a serious interest in biology.

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I have been extremely interested in systems biology and networks in general. I did not finish all of the essays in this book, but I read most of them and am absolutely in love everything I read. I cannot say I spent enough time understanding all of the math, although I should have. So shame on me.
If you are interested in scaling, networks, system, complexity, and the like, Geoffrey West has lectures online that cover not only the material in this book but also the work he has done since this book was published. This book focused mainly on how biological systems scale (utterly fascinating) and his new work extends this notion to include the scaling of cities.

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About the author (2000)

James H. Brown is at University of New Mexico. Geoffrey B. West is at Los Almos National Laboratory.