DEB Theory: research for metabolic organization


In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, international travelis and may remain unpredictable. Even more importantly, as scientists, we cannot ignore the rising impact of academic travel on the environment, as well as the geographic and economic barriers that may limit attendance of scientist working remotely or with limited funds. While the traditional format of academic conferences seems essential to establish and foster professional relationships, the increasing availability of fast and reliable internet connections and the development of modern teleconference solutions provides an opportunity for a paradigm shift.

While we are working on the organization of the DEB2021 School and Symposium in a traditional, in person, form, we are committed to developping ways for participants to attend the different events of DEB2021 virtually. This is new for all of us, and we are still working on the details, but we hope that these efforts will provide suitable options for each of us to safely contribute to DEB research around the world!


Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory aims at unifying commonalities of metabolic organization between organisms (animals, plants, bacteria…). This theory is based on a restricted number of assumptions, written out as mathematical formulas that allows quantifying growth, development, reproduction of an organism all along its life cycle as a function of available food and temperature. It also enables modelling the effects of stressors such as contaminants, pathogens, oxygen, pH...

In the actual context of biodiversity erosion, comparison of species functional traits is not the only applications of DEB theory. Prediction of the effects of global change, better understanding the geographical patterns of species, the effects of environmental stressors, optimization of bio-production, management of exploited resources, invasive species control are also examples of applications for which better understanding the metabolism of species and how it is controlled by the environment is key and for which DEB theory allowed knock down scientific some barriers with more than 900 publications.

DEB2021 is the seventh edition of a series of tele-courses, schools and symposia which take place every two years (see here the past conferences).


Due to the possibility of an extension/resurgence of the risks associated to the COVID-19 disease, DEB2021 events may have to be held in a different format to comply with travel restrictions and health guidelines. To this end the organization committee is working on alternative plans to hold all events online through a series of virtual conferencing tools. More information will be provided on this Home page as the situation evolves.



DEB2021 is a three-part international event:

PART 1: 5-week International Tele-course - general online theoretical part (Feb - Mar 2021)

PART 2a: 6-day Thematic School - practical training part (May 17 - May 22, 2021)

PART 2b: 2-day Workshop - expert practical part (May 24 - May 25, 2021)

PART 3: 3-day International DEB Symposium (May 26 - May 28, 2021)



The Tele-course: mainly your own working place, and we encourage participants to form local study groups. We recommend that the groups meet once a week, although individual participation is also possible. The various meeting places will be interactively determined at the start of the course. Individuals who registered separately will be assigned to a group in the same time-zone and asked to interact with the group during the meetings in Google hang outs, Skype, Zoom, etc.

The School, Worshop and Symposium will be organised at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova-Scotia (Canada).


For whom?

The course is for graduate students and scientists, but advanced undergraduates are also welcome. Several professors participated in the development of earlier courses, and their valuable input contributed to the level of the current course. Participants should have a background in biology, mathematics, engineering, chemistry or physics with an interest in the logic behind the quantitative aspects of the metabolic organization of living systems.

Participants of previous courses wrote a number of special issues on DEB theory and its applications. Some were involved in organising the previous symposiums in Brest, Lisbon, Texel, Marseille and Tromso. You can actually meet them and learn from their experience. The 2005-participants created the Research Group AQUADEB on applications of DEB theory to aquatic organisms.Moreover, 2015-participants created the 3-year research project FREE "FRamework for integrating Eco-physiological and Ecotoxicological data into ecosystem-based management tools", which stimulated the growth of AmP and an increase in automatization and robustness of DEB parameter estimation.This nicely illustrates possible after-course activities.


A list of keynote speakers invited to the symposium will be available soon.



Welcome to the DEB2021 website






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