July 24, 2008
Dr. Tom Marsh, Chemistry & Dr. Adam Kay, Biology
Ecological stoichiometry (ES) is the study of the balance of chemical elements in living systems (Sterner and Elser 2002). Major biomolecules contain different mixtures of elements such as carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and calcium (Ca). As a result, important organismal characteristics with particular biochemical demands have distinct elemental signatures. A focus on elements provides simple currencies for integrating across levels of biological organization and diverse types of organisms, and provides a common language facilitating collaboration between biologists and chemists.