Metabolism and Scaling

Two important processes for growth are anabolism (building molecules and new tissue) and catabolism (breaking down of molecules and old tissue). Together with the biochemical processes required for maintenance of the body, locomotion, and other activities, these processes are collectively termed metabolism. Across different taxa, metabolic processes often scale as power laws of body size. For example, standard metabolic rate B (energy consumption; measured in watts) is proportional to a power function of body mass W (kg) as

Such scaling relationships, also called allometric relationships, are convenient mathematical properties that underlie most models of fish growth. The proportionality coefficient B0 varies, most importantly in relation to temperature such that organisms with higher body temperatures have higher metabolic rates. There is usually variation in the exponent depending on species or taxonomical group; the value of 0.71 in eqn [1] applies when one includes all animals, plants, and unicellular organisms for which temperature-corrected measurements of metabolic rate exist.

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