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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 480:99-117 (2013)  -  DOI:

Parameterisation of bivalve functional traits for mechanistic eco-physiological dynamic energy budget (DEB) models

G. Sarà1,*, V. Palmeri1, V. Montalto1, A. Rinaldi1,2, J. Widdows3

1Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e del Mare, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze Ed. 16, 90128 Palermo, Italy
2Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche ed Ambientali, University of Messina, Salita Sperone 31, 98166 Messina, Italy
3Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK

ABSTRACT: Mechanistic models such as those based on dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory are emergent ecomechanics tools to investigate the extent of fitness in organisms through changes in life history traits as explained by bioenergetic principles. The rapid growth in interest around this approach originates from the mechanistic characteristics of DEB, which are based on a number of rules dictating the use of mass and energy flow through organisms. One apparent bottleneck in DEB applications comes from the estimations of DEB parameters which are based on mathematical and statistical methods (covariation method). The parameterisation process begins with the knowledge of some functional traits of a target organism (e.g. embryo, sexual maturity and ultimate body size, feeding and assimilation rates, maintenance costs), identified from the literature or laboratory experiments. However, considering the prominent role of the mechanistic approach in ecology, the reduction of possible uncertainties is an important objective. We propose a revaluation of the laboratory procedures commonly used in ecological studies to estimate DEB parameters in marine bivalves. Our experimental organism was Brachidontes pharaonis. We supported our proposal with a validation exercise which compared life history traits as obtained by DEBs (implemented with parameters obtained using classical laboratory methods) with the actual set of species traits obtained in the field. Correspondence between the 2 approaches was very high (>95%) with respect to estimating both size and fitness. Our results demonstrate a good agreement between field data and model output for the effect of temperature and food density on age–size curve, maximum body size and total gamete production per life span. The mechanistic approach is a promising method of providing accurate predictions in a world that is under increasing anthropogenic pressure.

KEY WORDS: Mechanistic models · Dynamic energy budget · Bivalve · Parameterisation methods · Brachidontes pharaonis · Mediterranean Sea

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Cite this article as: Sarà G, Palmeri V, Montalto V, Rinaldi A, Widdows J (2013) Parameterisation of bivalve functional traits for mechanistic eco-physiological dynamic energy budget (DEB) models. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 480:99-117.

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