Predicting post-natal energy intake of lesser black-backed gull chicks by Dynamic Energy Budget modeling

Jaap van der Meer*, Susanne van Donk, Alejandro Sotillo, Luc Lens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The standard Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model is widely used to describe the physiology of individual animals. Here we parametrized the DEB model for the lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus mainly on the basis of literature data. Next we performed an inverse modeling approach to predict the food intake rate of gull chicks (model input) on the basis of their growth trajectory from hatching to fledging (model output). Food intake rate and growth were also measured for this period in an aviary experiment, where three different diet treatments resulted in a large range in overall intake rate. These measured food intake rate data were not used in the parameter estimation procedure, but rather to validate model results. Model predictions of food intake rate were systematically only about 10% below the observations, but predictions and observations correlated strongly. The DEB model might be used to predict food provisioning rates in the field, which are difficult to obtain, on the basis of growth data, which are much easier to get.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109005
JournalEcological Modelling
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory
  • Fledgling
  • Food demands
  • Larus fuscus
  • Nutritional stress


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