Dynamic energy budgets in population ecotoxicology: Applications and outlook

Tjalling Jager, Alpar Barsi, Natnael T. Hamda, Benjamin T. Martin, Elke I. Zimmer, Virginie Ducrot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Most of the experimental testing in ecotoxicology takes place at the individual level, but the protection goals for environmental risk assessment are at the population level (or higher). Population modelling can fill this gap, but only models on a mechanistic basis allow for extrapolation beyond the conditions in the experimental tests. The life-history traits of individuals form the basis of population dynamics, and population modelling thus requires a proper understanding of the individual's behaviour. The dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory offers a flexible platform for the development of models at the individual level. Linking DEB models to population models can thus provide a mechanistic basis for extrapolation. Here, we provide a conceptual overview of DEB theory, with emphasis on its applications in ecotoxicology. Furthermore, we briefly review the applications in which a DEB-based individual model has been linked to structured population dynamics. Finally, we discuss some of the most important areas for further research in this context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-147
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Modelling
StatePublished - May 24 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has been financially supported by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme (project acronym CREAM, contract number PITN-GA-2009-238148).


  • Dynamic energy budget
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Population models
  • Review
  • TKTD models


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