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Keywords:

  • Bertalanffy's equation;
  • growth curves;
  • indeterminate growth;
  • life history evolution;
  • optimal resource allocation;
  • optimization models;
  • reproduction;
  • seasonality;
  • trade-off

Bertalanffy's equation is commonly used to model indeterminate growth. Bertalanffy claimed that this growth pattern results from growth potential decreasing with age. An alternative approach provided by life history theory predicts that indeterminate growth is optimal for organisms in a seasonal environment and results not from decreasing growth potential but from allocating increasingly less energy with age into growth, and more into reproduction. Bertalanffy's curves are the result of evolutionary optimization and should not be used in optimization models as an assumption, but they can be used as a tool to describe the indeterminate growth pattern phenomenologically.