Resource allocation, hyperphagia and compensatory growth in juveniles

William S. C. Gurney, Wayne Jones, A. Roy Veitch, Roy M. Nisbet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Many organisms exploit highly variable food supplies and, as an adaptation to such conditions, show elevated growth during recovery from starvation. In some species this response enables starved and re-fed individuals to outpace those growing continuously. The main engine of compensatory growth is a relative increase in food ingestion as a reaction to poor nutritional condition. We use a series of mathematical energy-budget models to investigate the interaction between the mechanisms that control such hyperphagia and those that control internal allocation, with the aim of identifying those strategies that permit overcompensation. We find that hyperphagia alone normally produces weak compensation and can never result in overcompensation. When combined with internal allocation, which routes a fixed fraction of net production to reserves, a strong compensatory response becomes the norm, and overcompensation is frequent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2777-2787
Number of pages11
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2003


  • compensatory growth
  • hyperphagia
  • juvenile growth
  • overcompensation
  • resource allocation
  • starvation


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