From food-dependent statistics to metabolic parameters, a practical guide to the use of Dynamic Energy Budget theory

Kooijman, S.A.L.M., Sousa, T., Pecquerie, L. Meer, J. van der and Jager, T. 2008. From food-dependent statistics to metabolic parameters, a practical guide to the use Dynamic Energy Budget theory. Biol. Rev. , 83, 533--552


The standard model of the dynamic energy budget theory for metabolic organisation has variables and parameters that can be quantified using indirect methods only. We present new methods (and software) to extract food-independent parameter values of the energy budget from food-dependent quantities that are easy to observe, and so facilitate the practical application of the theory to enhance predictability and extrapolation. A natural sequence of 10 steps is discussed to obtain some compound parameters first, then the primary parameters, then the composition parameters and finally the thermodynamic parameters; this sequence matches a sequence of required data of increasing complexity which is discussed in detail. Many applications do not require knowledge of all parameters, and we discuss methods to extrapolate parameters from one species to another. The conversion of mass, volume and energy measures of biomass is discussed; these conversions are not trivial because biomass can change in chemical composition in particular ways thanks to different forms of homeostasis. We solve problems like ``What would be the ultimate reproduction rate and the von Bertalanffy growth rate at a specific food level, given that we have measured these statistics at abundant food?'' and ``What would be the maximum incubation time, given the parameters of the von Bertalanffy growth curve?''. We propose a new non-destructive method for quantifying the chemical potential and entropy of living reserve and structure, that can potentially change our ideas on the thermodynamic properties of life. We illustrate the methods using data on daphnids and molluscs.

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