I was wondering if there is some biological law (or chemical/physical law for that matter) that limits how fast an organism can grow.

I know that the growth of a plant is often restricted by the deficit of some nutrient (e.g. phosphorous). Phosphorous fertiliser over comes this. However, if one were to give a plant its optimal ratio of nutrient, sunlight, CO2, etc... we could probably not increase its growth speed by a factor of 1000, by increasing the dose.

Why is this?

Is it because of the speed at which cells can replicate? or the speed at which light can be converted into chemical energy? or the speed at which minerals can be absorbed by the plant? or is it just a habit rather than a law?

Is it possible to calculate the upper bound of growth for an organism (or specifically any given plant)?

Please excuse if my terminology is rudimentary.

  • $\begingroup$ yes there are growth models but growth process is incredibly complex and there is no single law/model that would universally apply to all organisms. Logistic growth models are used for modelling most populations but they are very simplistic. $\endgroup$
    Jul 3, 2016 at 19:09


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