We formulated a full lifecycle bioenergetic model for bluefin tuna relying on the principles of Dynamic Energy Budget theory. Traditional bioenergetic models in fish research deduce energy input and utilization from observed growth and reproduction. In contrast, our model predicts growth and reproduction from food availability and temperature in the environment. We calibrated the model to emulate physiological characteristics of Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis, hereafter PBT), a species which has received considerable scientific attention due to its high economic value. Computer simulations suggest that (i) the main cause of different growth rates between cultivated and wild PBT is the difference in average body temperature of approximately 6.5°C, (ii) a well-fed PBT individual can spawn an average number of 9 batches per spawning season, (iii) food abundance experienced by wild PBT is rather constant and sufficiently high to provide energy for yearly reproductive cycle, (iv) energy in reserve is exceptionally small, causing the weight-length relationship of cultivated and wild PBT to be practically indistinguishable and suggesting that these fish are poorly equipped to deal with starvation, (v) accelerated growth rate of PBT larvae is connected to morphological changes prior to metamorphosis, while (vi) deceleration of growth rate in the early juvenile stage is related to efficiency of internal heat production. Based on these results, we discuss a number of physiological and ecological traits of PBT, including the reasons for high Feed Conversion Ratio recorded in bluefin tuna aquaculture. © 2011 Jusup et al.