Can DEB models infer metabolic differences between intertidal and subtidal morphotypes of the Antarctic limpet Nacella concinna (Strebel, 1908)?

Charlène Guillaumot*, Thomas Saucède, Simon A. Morley, Starrlight Augustine, Bruno Danis, Sebastiaan Kooijman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Studying the influence of changing environmental conditions on Antarctic marine benthic invertebrates is strongly constrained by limited access to the region, which poses difficulties to performing long-term experimental studies. Ecological modelling has been increasingly used as a potential alternative to assess the impact of such changes on species distribution or physiological performance. Among ecological models, the Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) approach represents each individual through four energetic compartments (i.e. reserve, structure, maturation and reproduction) from which energy is allocated in contrasting proportions according to different life stages and to two forcing environmental factors (food resources and temperature). In this study, the example of an abundant coastal limpet, Nacella concinna (Strebel 1908), was studied. The species is known to have intertidal and subtidal morphotypes, genetically similar but physiologically and morphologically contrasting. The objectives of this paper are (1) to evaluate the potential of the DEB approach, and assess whether a DEB model can be separately built for the intertidal and subtidal morphotypes, based on a field experiment and data from literature and (2) to analyse whether models are contrasting enough to reflect the known physiological and morphological differences between the morphotypes. We found only minor differences in temperature-corrected parameter values between both populations, meaning that the observed differences can be only explained by differences in environmental conditions (i.e. DEB considered variables, food resources and temperature, but also other variables not considered by DEB). Despite the known morphological difference between the populations, the difference in shape coefficients was small. This study shows that even with the amount of data so far available in the literature, DEB models can already be applied to some Southern Ocean case studies, but, more data are required to accurately model the physiological and morphological differences between individuals.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number109088
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalEcological Modelling
    Early online date30 May 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2020


    • ecological modelling
    • marine benthic species
    • model accuracy
    • model relevance
    • Southern Ocean


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