Quantitative aspects of metabolic organization; a discussion of concepts.

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Metabolic organization of individual organisms follows simple quantitative rules that can be understood from basic physical chemical principles. Dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory identifies these rules, which quantify how individuals acquire and use energy and nutrients. The theory provides constraints on the metabolic organization of subcellular processes. Together with rules for interaction between individuals, it also provides a basis to understand population and ecosystem dynamics. The theory, therefore, links various levels of biological organization. It applies to all species of organisms and offers explanations for body-size scaling relationships of natural history parameters that are otherwise difficult to understand. A considerable number of popular empirical models turn out to be special cases of the DEB model, or very close numerical approximations. Strong and weak homeostasis and the partitionability of reserve kinetics are cornerstones of the theory and essential for understanding the evolution of metabolic organization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-349
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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