, Volume 155, Issue 1, pp 21–31 | Cite as

Regulation of phosphorus stoichiometry and growth rate of consumers: theoretical and experimental analyses with Daphnia

  • Yuichiro Shimizu
  • Jotaro UrabeEmail author
Physiological Ecology - Original Paper


Initial theories of ecological stoichiometry were based on the assumption that the mass-specific content of key nutrient elements (such as P), changes little within a consumer species. However, evidence has shown that this content changes substantially according to feeding conditions. To clarify how the specific P content (S P) of a consumer species depends on food conditions and relates to the growth rate, we constructed a multiple mass-balance model incorporating feeding and metabolic costs and stoichiometrically regulated releases for C and P. The validity of the model was then tested experimentally by examining the growth rates and S P of Daphnia pulicaria under various food conditions. The experimental observation agreed qualitatively well with the model, showing that the S P of consumers relates positively to growth rate at high food C:P ratios but negatively at low food C:P ratios. Thus, within a consumer species, individuals with high S P do not necessarily grow at high rates. The concordance in results between the model and our observation suggests that maintenance costs for both P and C are substantial regardless of food conditions and play crucial roles in determining the relationship between the S P and growth rate of consumers.


Assimilation efficiency Carbon:phosphorus ratio Growth rate hypothesis Maintenance costs Mass balance model 



We thank J. P. Grover, M. Kyle, J. J. Elser, D. O. Hessen, R. W. Sterner, J. M. Hood and an anonymous reviewer for their invaluable comments and suggestions. This study is supported by a grant-in-aid for scientific research (B) no. 15370010 from MEXT, Japan; and by the Global Environment Research Fund (F-052) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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