Abstract A general, simple, and explicit model for the age-dependent growth and reproduction of individuals as a function of food supply is presented. The model assumes a Holling-type functional response coupled with a von Bertalanffy body growth law, a fixed ratio between the energy utilized for reproduction and respiration, and a juvenile stage that ends as soon as the animal attains a sufficient weight. This model is shown to fit the available data on the development of Daphnia magna quite well. The model is used as a basis for studying the effects of chemicals on population growth rate, given the effects on individuals. Effects on individual growth and reproduction are reflected in a concentration-dependent relative reduction of the population growth rate. Effects on feeding rate, digestion, basal metabolism, and survival work out much more dramatically at low natural population growth rates. This already follows from a much simpler model that assumes age-independent reproduction, as exempblified to a good approximation by the rotifer Brachionus rubens. The theoretical results are supplemented with experimental evidence, implying that the stress on a population at a certain concentration of a chemical may indeed be strongly dependent on the feeding state of that population.