We consider two numerical methods for the solution of a physiologically structured population (PSP) model with multiple life stages and discrete event reproduction. The model describes the dynamic behaviour of a predator-prey system consisting of rotifers predating on algae. The nitrate limited algal prey population is modelled unstructured and described by an ordinary differential equation (ODE). The formulation of the rotifer dynamics is based on a simple physiological model for their two life stages, the egg and the adult stage. An egg is produced when an energy buffer reaches a threshold value. The governing equations are coupled partial differential equations (PDE) with initial and boundary conditions. The population models together with the equation for the dynamics of the nutrient result in a chemostat model. Experimental data are used to estimate the model parameters. The results obtained with the explicit finite difference (FD) technique compare well with those of the Escalator Boxcar Train (EBT) method. This justifies the use of the fast FD method for the parameter estimation, a procedure which involves repeated solution of the model equations. (C) 2000 Academic Press.