Table 8 Arguments raised against the GOLT: Miscellaneous, mainly normative arguments.

7.1O’Dor and Hoar (158) claimed that “There is a
fundamental flaw in examining Pauly’s surface
area limited growth scheme by plotting two
different sets of units (m2 and m3) on the same
graph and then making quantitative conclusions.
Not only is [the resulting figure] messy, it violates
a rule of physics and engineering (179).” The rule
alluded to here is probably “For an equation to
have any applicability to the real world, not only
must the two sides by numerically equal, but they
must also be dimensionally equal” (179).
The GOLT involves no equation with
dimensionally unequal sides. Its
presentation, however, may include
graphs with two ordinates axes with
different units, as illustrated on figure 6.8,
p. 96 of the reference cited here (179). This
reference is therefore not likely to have
suggested that such figures violate the
rules of physics and engineering. In fact,
plots with two (or more) ordinate scales
are common in science (180). The key
issue, in any case, is that anything
proportional to the third power of length
will outgrow anything that remains
proportional to a lower power of length,
whatever the units and the starting values.
7.2It was claimed (42) that in in the contribution of
Cheung et al. (7), the GOLT predicted a strong size
reduction of fish with temperature because a key
parameter was deliberately set too low (d = 0.7)
When the parameter in question was set at
higher values (d = 0.8 to 0.9), the size
reduction caused by increasing
temperature actually increased (54).
7.3That ecophysiological consideration should not be
used to explain physiological processes was
asserted in a contribution (181) that criticizes
Pörtner et al.’s “oxygen and capacity limited
temperature tolerance” (OCLTT) hypothesis, which
partly overlaps with the GOLT (169, 182, 183).
No biological subdiscipline can assume a
priori a monopoly in answering a specific
scientific question. In fact, scientific
problems are nowadays best tackled using
interdisciplinary approaches (184). Pörtner
et al. (183) suggest that “to connect closely
to ecological changes, studies need to
consider the long-term consequences of
subtle functional constraints. […] Indeed,
such requirements are rarely met in purely
physiological studies.”
7.4Jutfelt et al. (181) suggest that Pörtner et al.’s OCLTT
hypothesis “incorrectly [considers] aerobic scope
or oxygen delivery capacity as the ‘energy’
available to animals, when in fact it is only a
permissive factor compared with other constraints
(e.g., food availability).”
Animals, including fish, deprived of oxygen
die within minutes. In addition, the
chemical energy embodied in their food
becomes available to them only when that
food is combined with oxygen, i.e., burnt.
Thus, considering oxygen to be one of
several “permissive” factors of metabolism
to score a few points against a colleague
takes us back to the times before the
discoveries of Lavoisier (1743–1784).
7.5Here is another argument against Pörtner et al.’s
OCLTT hypothesis “it is hard to imagine why
animals would allow tissue hypoxia to become
severe enough to inflict performance decline at
moderate levels of activity when possessing the
functional capacity to significantly increase
oxygen delivery to tissues” (181).
That none of the 28 authors of that
contribution could imagine why animal
cannot operate all the time at peak
performance is itself hard to imagine, but
it bears repeating here: Peak performance
extracts a massive toll on all organ systems
and is used only to escape predators or
life-threatening situations (17, 185).
Repeated peak performance, as forced in
experiments, renders the tested animals
unfit for life in the wild.
7.6The closing argument (42): “The idea that
insurmountable geometric constraints on the size
of the gills could determine the metabolic rate of
fishes has never, as far as we know, been pursued
as a valid hypothesis among respiratory
physiologists. It is for example not mentioned in
Schmidt-Nielsen or in Evans and Clairborne, two
sources for overviews of animals and fish
This meta-argument about the authority of
textbooks (186, 187) is a strange one to
make in the 21st century, although it could
have been made in the Middle Ages with
reference to species not mentioned in
Aristotle’s Historia Animalium (188) or in
the writings of Plinius the Elder (189).