Welcome to the DEB portal

What is DEB theory?

DEB stands for Dynamic Energy Budget. "Dynamic" means that the full life cycle of an individual (micro-organism, plant, or animal) is followed in a changing environment. DEB theory deals with the processes of "Energy" uptake and use, but also with mass, including stoichiometric constraints and isotopes. "Budget" means that balances are respected explicitly. DEB theory unifies the commonalities between organisms as prescribed by the implications of energetics, which links different levels of biological organisation (cells, organisms and populations). The theory presents simple mechanistic rules that describe the uptake and use of energy and nutrients (substrates, food, light) and the consequences for physiological organisation throughout an organism's life cycle, including the relationships of energetics with aging and effects of toxicants. All living organisms are covered in a single quantitative framework, the predictions of which are tested against a wide variety of experimental results at the various levels of biological organisation.

The advantage of applying the same family of models to all species is that species can be compared on the basis of parameter values. Parameter values are taken to be individual-specific, where the scatter of parameters for con-specific individuals is typically less than between species. The patterns in the co-variation of parameter values across populations and species is an increasingly important topic in DEB research, now parameters of thousands of species are known, as shown in the Add_my_Pet (AmP) collection for animal species. The processes of ecological and evolutionary adaptation complement patterns that result from plain physics.

See also the DEB theory article on Wikipedia. The DEBcalendar gives for an overview of research milestones in a historic perspective.

Mirrors of DEBlab

VU Univ Amsterdam https://bio.vu.nl/thb/deb/deblab/
IUEM Brest https://debtheory.fr/

Events & courses

Registration for DEB2025 is not yet open. We will announce events and their updates also on Facebook and Twitter.
Event Location Dates
DEB 2023 tele-course local Mar 23 - May 04, 2023
DEB 2023 School Baton Rouge, Lousiana, USA June 04 - 13, 2023
8th Internat. Symposium on DEB theory Baton Rouge, Lousiana, USA June 14-16, 2023
This 2023 edition of the bi-yearly DEB tele-course is a great opportunity to learn the basics of the theory, as well as deepen one's knowledge ahead of the School, Workshop, and Symposium later that year. Many DEB researchers with a wide diversity of backgrounds will be interacting via the discussion board; many followed previous editions of the course/workshop/symposium.

Previous events can be found at DEBevents.

Publications & videos

DEB literature and publications span from: introductory material in form of posters and micro-lectures and other course material to books (DEB3) with accompanying summary of concepts, notation document, and frequently updated Comments. Over 1000 scientific publications with a focus on DEB theory and its applications are collected in the Zotero DEB library. Several (scientific) journal special issues have been dedicated to DEB theory, as can be found in our small overview.

A collection of videos ranges from course material, comments on selected issues to recorded lectures on symposia.

Communication & outreach

DEBnet is a network of DEB experts in a wide range of fields: Aquaculture, Mathematics, Ecotoxicology, Economics, Ecology ... Other on-line places to find DEB: AmP on ResearchGate, AmP on Facebook, AmP on Twitter.

(Un)Subscribe to the DEB mailing list here: deb-request@listes.univ-brest.fr. Once you are subscribed you can post and receive announcements (new research, jobs, etc) to and from the mailing list here: deb@listes.univ-brest.fr


DEBlab is a site that points to material that may be useful for research and education purposes. It aims to facilitate the application of the theory, and to stimulate collaboration. Here you can find short descriptions and links to
  • packages such as DEBtool, AmPtool, NicheMapR, DEBtox, DEBibm, DEB Shiny App, DEBsea Shiny App, PlotReader.
  • data libraries based on DEB: Add_my_pet, Debber, Phyto_pars.
  • supporting material, such as the DEB book, comments on this book, concepts, notation
  • course material and additional learning resources

DEBtool is a software package that can be used to illustrate some implications of the Dynamic Energy Budget theory and to apply this theory in the analysis of eco-physiological data.