A paradox in individual-based models of populations

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The standard dynamic energy budget model is widely used to describe the physiology of individual animals. It assumes that assimilation rate scales with body surface area, whereas maintenance rate scales with body volume. When the model is used as the building block of a population model, only limited dynamical behaviour, the so-called juvenile-driven cycles, emerges. The reason is that in the model juveniles are competitively superior over adults, because juveniles have a higher surface areato- volume ratio. Maintenance requirements for adults are therefore relatively large, and a reduced assimilation rate as a result of lowered food levels will easily become insufficient. Here, an alternative dynamic energy budget model is introduced that gives rise to adult-driven cycles, which may be closer to what is often observed in reality. However, this comes at the price of a rather odd description of the individual, in that maintenance scales with body area and assimilation rate with body volume, resulting in unbounded exponential body growth. I make a plea to solve the paradox and come up with reliable descriptions at both the individual and the population level.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbercow023
JournalConservation Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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