The standard dynamic energy budget model has no plausible alternatives

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    During its 40 years of development, the assumptions of the Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory for metabolic organisation turned out hard to replace. To understand this, a reasoning is here presented for why its standard model has no alternatives with a comparable level of simplicity and will never have them. Energy and mass conservation rules are essential to quantify the eco-physiological development of an individual organism thermodynamically. These rules strongly constrain the mathematical modelling of this development. In combination with consistency with a small set of stylised empirical facts, the freedom of modelling the skeleton of the model is reduced to a single one: the standard DEB model. This skeleton can, however, be extended in many different ways to capture particular ‘details’. The key-message of this paper is that the more simple metabolic models become, the more constraining are consistency conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number109106
    Pages (from-to)1-5
    Number of pages5
    JournalEcological Modelling
    Early online date11 May 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


    • Add-my-Pet
    • Canonical form
    • Dynamic energy budget theory
    • Entropy dissipation
    • Thermodynamics
    • Uniqueness


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