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Quantifying the energetic cost of food quality constraints on resting metabolism to integrate nutritional and metabolic ecology
Ecology Letters  (IF9.492),  Pub Date : 2021-08-01, DOI: 10.1111/ele.13855
Thomas Ruiz, Apostolos-Manuel Koussoroplis, Michael Danger, Jean-Pierre Aguer, Nicole Morel-Desrosiers, Alexandre Bec

Consumer metabolism controls the energy uptake from the environment and its allocation to biomass production. In natural ecosystems, available energy in food often fails to predict biomass production which is also (co)limited by the relative availability of various dietary compounds. To date, the link between energy metabolism and the effects of food chemical composition on biomass production remains elusive. Here, we measured the resting metabolic rate (RMR) of Daphnia magna along ontogeny when undergoing various (non-energetic) nutritional constraints. All types of dietary (co)limitations (Fatty acids, Sterols, Phosphorus) induced an increase in mass-specific RMR up to 128% between highest and lowest quality diets. We highlight a strong negative correlation between RMR and growth rate indicating RMR as a promising predictor of consumer growth rate. We argue that quantifying the energetic cost imposed by food quality on individual RMR may constitute a common currency enabling the integration of nutritional and metabolic ecology.