Extrapolating toxic effects on individuals to the population level: the role of dynamic energy budgets

T. Jager, T.C. Klok

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    57 Citations (Scopus)


    The interest of environmental management is in the long-term health of populations and ecosystems. However, toxicity is usually assessed in short-term experiments with individuals. Modelling based on dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory aids the extraction of mechanistic information from the data, which in turn supports educated extrapolation to the population level. To illustrate the use of DEB models in this extrapolation, we analyse a dataset for life cycle toxicity of copper in the earthworm Dendrobaena octaedra. We compare four approaches for the analysis of the toxicity data: no model, a simple DEB model without reserves and maturation (the Kooijman–Metz formulation), a more complex one with static reserves and simplified maturation (as used in the DEBtox software) and a full-scale DEB model (DEB3) with explicit calculation of reserves and maturation. For the population prediction, we compare two simple demographic approaches (discrete time matrix model and continuous time Euler–Lotka equation). In our case, the difference between DEB approaches and population models turned out to be small. However, differences between DEB models increased when extrapolating to more field-relevant conditions. The DEB3 model allows for a completely consistent assessment of toxic effects and therefore greater confidence in extrapolating, but poses greater demands on the available data.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3531-3540
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Series B, Biological Sciences
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • earthworm dendrobaena-octaedra
    • multiple end-points
    • lumbricus-rubellus
    • intrinsic rate
    • growth rate
    • life-cycle
    • models
    • reproduction
    • copper
    • tests


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