Total energy costs in ecosystems

Bruce Hannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A micro and macro ecological system hypotheses and their associated theory of total (direct and indirect) energy cost have been proposed to explain the meaning of system growth and the steady state condition. Models have been proposed which can be used to test the hypotheses. In brief, the hypotheses are that while the components of an ecosystem strive to maximize their total direct and indirect energy storage within the constraints of their production characteristics, the overall system strives to minimize the metabolized energy per unit of stored biomass energy. The steady state result is a system with the largest possible stored biomass under the general constraints of water, air, soil and sunlight availability. Feeding strategies are discussed with the conclusion that a net total energy-maximizing feeding strategy may be able to replace the present concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-293
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 21 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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