Testing metabolic theories

Kearney, Michael R. and White, Craig R. (2012) Testing metabolic theories. American Naturalist, 180 5: 546-565. doi:10.1086/667860

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Author Kearney, Michael R.
White, Craig R.
Title Testing metabolic theories
Journal name American Naturalist   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-0147
Publication date 2012-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1086/667860
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 180
Issue 5
Start page 546
End page 565
Total pages 20
Place of publication Chicago, United States
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Metabolism is the process by which individual organisms acquire energy and materials from their environment and use them for maintenance, differentiation, growth, and reproduction. There has been a recent push to build an individual-based metabolic underpinning into ecological theory—that is, a metabolic theory of ecology. However, the two main theories of individual metabolism that have been applied in ecology—Kooijman’s dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory and theWest, Brown, and Enquist (WBE) theory— have fundamentally different assumptions. Surprisingly, the core assumptions of these two theories have not been rigorously compared from an empirical perspective. Before we can build an understanding of ecology on the basis of individual metabolism, we must resolve the differences between these theories and thus set the appropriate foundation. Here we compare the DEB and WBE theories in detail as applied to ontogenetic growth and metabolic scaling, from which we identify circumstances where their predictions diverge most strongly. Promising experimental areas include manipulative studies of tissue regeneration, body shape, body condition, temperature, and oxygen. Much empirical work designed specifically with DEB and WBE theory in mind is required before any consensus can be reached on the appropriate theoretical basis for a metabolic theory of ecology.
Keyword Metabolic rate
Growth model
Experimental tests
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 27 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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