Analysis and Interpretation of Freshwater Fisheries Data

12: Bioenergetics

Kyle J. Hartman and Robert S. Hayward


Bioenergetics is the study of pathways and mechanisms through which energy enters and is then stored, used, and ultimately lost from living organisms to allow for their maintenance, growth, and reproduction. Bioenergetics investigations have ranged from those focused at the molecular and cellular levels to those focused at population, community, and ecosystem levels. Within fisheries and aquatic ecology, bioenergetics investigations have focused primarily at the organismal level but have often been extrapolated to populations and communities. However, as our demand increases for more accurate and detailed estimates and predictions of fish energetics responses, bioenergetics studies at finer organizational levels will likely become necessary.

Studies of bioenergetics in fisheries have sought mainly to develop estimators of energy consumption and growth for the “average” fish. These estimators have as their underpinning the following balanced energy equation: