Table 2 Arguments raised against the GOLT: Claims by Lefevre and associates.

NoArgumentsRefutations
2.1Fish could, if they needed it, grow new gill
lamellae to maintain the ratio gill surface area/
body weight constant, but they do not need to,
i.e., “gill surface area can scale proportionally
with body mass, and if it does not do so, it is
because oxygen demands are reduced with
body size…” (42)
It is actually impossible, for gill lamellae, which
must function as 2D surfaces (Fig. 2), to keep up
with the growth of the 3D bodies they supply
with oxygen (152). In addition, the suggestion
that large fish could increase their gill surface if
they wanted, but somehow do not, makes
these claims effectively unfalsifiable.
2.2“Weatherley and Gill (153) […] had already
concluded that there was no evidence that
capacity for gas exchange or gill surface area
could limit growth performance in fishes…”
(42).
The quote in question (153) was actually “[t]here is
little doubt that the relative size of the gills may
be important in influencing growth and size of
fish, but Pauly’s claim that his hypothesis ‘offers
a single, simple explanation to a whole set of
growth related phenomena…’ seems
extravagant.” Thus, it is the scope of gill
limitation that was disputed, not the idea itself.
2.3Here is another version of the above citation: “…
Blier et al. (154) had already concluded that
there was no evidence that capacity for gas
exchange or gill surface area could limit growth
performance in fishes, and their analysis remain
valid today”.
No, it is no longer valid. Following an exchange
with P. U. Blier, he conceded that “under natural
conditions, particularly when fish have to move
at the same time as they feed or digest, it is very
probable that aerobic scope, i.e., the oxygen
supply through the gills, acts as a limiting
factor” (pers. comm., 16 March 1998, translated
from French) (15).
2.4Lefevre et al. (155) asserted that “Pauly and
Cheung (17) seem to suggest that when the gill
area grows, it will eventually deplete the water
of oxygen, and more surface area will be
useless. However, an increase in body and gill
size will of course coincide with a proportional
increase in water and oxygen movement, so a
doubling of surface area effectively doubles the
capacity for oxygen uptake.”
They did not. What was suggested (17) is that the
growth of gill surface area can proceed only by
making the gill “sieve” higher and wider (2D)
but not deeper (3D), as this would put the new
gill lamellae behind the first layer of lamellae.
Lamellae that were so placed would be
“useless,” as the first layer of lamellae would
reduce the water flowing across the gills of O2,
leaving the second layer (and any subsequent
layer) with little to nothing to do (see Fig. 2).
2.5“…a fundamental pillar of the GOLT – that
geometrical constraints hinder the gills and
their surface from growing at the same pace as
the fish body – is not supported by existing
data and knowledge” (155)
On the contrary, the GOLT has the support of an
immense amount of data, stemming from
numerous anatomical studies, physiological
experiments, and ecological surveys. The points
are that this evidence had never been
assembled into the coherent picture that the
GOLT provides and that this picture requires a
rethink of old assumptions.