Scope for growth in Gammarus pulex, a freshwater benthic detritivore

Caroline Naylor, Lorraine Maltby, Peter Calow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    157 Scopus citations


    Although toxic substances affect the physiological processes of individual organisms, their ecological impacts occur at the population and community levels. However, physiological processes can often be assessed more easily and precisely than population and community ones. Here we argue that 'scope for growth', the difference between the energy input to an organism from its food and the output from respiratory metabolism, can give a good physiological measure of stress that, at least in principle, is straightforwardly related to population and community processes. We describe, in detail, how 'scope for growth' can be measured in Gammarus pulex (Crustacea, Amphipoda). The results indicate that both zinc and low pH can significantly reduce the scope for growth of individuals and that the most sensitive component of the energy budget is food absorption.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)517-523
    Number of pages7
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Dec 1 1989


    • Gammarus pulex
    • freshwater crustacean
    • pH
    • scope for growth
    • zinc


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