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A paradox in individual-based models of populations
Van der Meer, J. (2016). A paradox in individual-based models of populations. Conservation Physiology 4: cow023. dx.doi.org/10.1093/conphys/cow023
In: Conservation Physiology. Oxford University Press: Oxford. ISSN 2051-1434, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    dynamic energy budget theory; individual-based models; physiologically structured population models

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  • Van der Meer, J., meer

Abstract
    The standard dynamic energy budget model is widely used to describe the physiology of individual animals. It assumes thatassimilation rate scales with body surface area, whereas maintenance rate scales with body volume. When the model is usedas the building block of a population model, only limited dynamical behaviour, the so-called juvenile-driven cycles, emerges.The reason is that in the model juveniles are competitively superior over adults, because juveniles have a higher surface areato-volume ratio. Maintenance requirements for adults are therefore relatively large, and a reduced assimilation rate as a resultof lowered food levels will easily become insufficient. Here, an alternative dynamic energy budget model is introduced thatgives rise to adult-driven cycles, which may be closer to what is often observed in reality. However, this comes at the price of arather odd description of the individual, in that maintenance scales with body area and assimilation rate with body volume,resulting in unbounded exponential body growth. I make a plea to solve the paradox and come up with reliable descriptionsat both the individual and the population level.

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