A new framework for growth curve fitting based on the von Bertalanffy Growth Function

Laura Lee*, David Atkinson, Andrew G. Hirst, Stephen J. Cornell

*Corresponding author for this work

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All organisms grow. Numerous growth functions have been applied to a wide taxonomic range of organisms, yet some of these models have poor fits to empirical data and lack of flexibility in capturing variation in growth rate. We propose a new VBGF framework that broadens the applicability and increases flexibility of fitting growth curves. This framework offers a curve-fitting procedure for five parameterisations of the VBGF: these allow for different body-size scaling exponents for anabolism (biosynthesis potential), besides the commonly assumed 2/3 power scaling, and allow for supra-exponential growth, which is at times observed. This procedure is applied to twelve species of diverse aquatic invertebrates, including both pelagic and benthic organisms. We reveal widespread variation in the body-size scaling of biosynthesis potential and consequently growth rate, ranging from isomorphic to supra-exponential growth. This curve-fitting methodology offers improved growth predictions and applies the VBGF to a wider range of taxa that exhibit variation in the scaling of biosynthesis potential. Applying this framework results in reliable growth predictions that are important for assessing individual growth, population production and ecosystem functioning, including in the assessment of sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7953
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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