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Journal of Experimental Biology partnership with Dryad

Integrating dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory with traditional bioenergetic models
Roger M. Nisbet, Marko Jusup, Tin Klanjscek, Laure Pecquerie


Dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory offers a systematic, though abstract, way to describe how an organism acquires and uses energy and essential elements for physiological processes, in addition to how physiological performance is influenced by environmental variables such as food density and temperature. A ‘standard’ DEB model describes the performance (growth, development, reproduction, respiration, etc.) of all life stages of an animal (embryo to adult), and predicts both intraspecific and interspecific variation in physiological rates. This approach contrasts with a long tradition of more phenomenological and parameter-rich bioenergetic models that are used to make predictions from species-specific rate measurements. These less abstract models are widely used in fisheries studies; they are more readily interpretable than DEB models, but lack the generality of DEB models. We review the interconnections between the two approaches and present formulae relating the state variables and fluxes in the standard DEB model to measured bioenergetic rate processes. We illustrate this synthesis for two large fishes: Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) and Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.). For each, we have a parameter-sparse, full-life-cycle DEB model that requires adding only a few species-specific features to the standard model. Both models allow powerful integration of knowledge derived from data restricted to certain life stages, processes and environments.


  • Funding

    This work was supported by the US National Science Foundation (grant EF-0742521); NOAA (subaward from NA100AR4320156); the Croatian Ministry for Science, Education and Sport (grant 098-0982934-2719); the US National Science Foundation and the US Environmental Protection Agency under Cooperative Agreement Number EF 0830117; the Society for Conservation of Fisheries Resources and Marine Environment (CoFRaME), project “Modeling approach for efficient bluefin tuna aquaculture”; and The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT), scholarship no. 080755.

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