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Modelling the influence of light, turbulence and ontogeny on ingestion rates in larval cod and herring

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Based on existing models of fish vision and turbulence-mediated ingestion rates, we develop a model of ingestion rates in larval fish that combines several physical properties of the environment (turbulence, irradiance, light attenuation) and visual characteristics of predators and prey. The model of visual range was calibrated with observed estimates in larval herring (Clupea harengus) and cod (Gadus morhua). The improved visual ability with length of larvae was predicted to be the most sensitive part of the model. Both turbulence and light had strong impacts on the ingestion rate of larval fish. The optimal level of turbulence increased with larval length. Also, due to the exponential decay of light with depth, it was predicted that larvae will have higher ingestion rates near the surface, even at high wind velocities. It is also proposed that larvae (particularly the smallest larvae) should concentrate on larger prey in turbulent environments. We suggest that biophysical models of larval growth and survival in field situations should include these factors to account for environmental effects on growth, survival and recruitment processes in the early life stages.

Keywords: cod larvae; feeding success; herring larvae; ingestion rate; turbulence; visual range; visual resolution

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Bergen, Department of Fisheries and Marine Biology, Bergen High Technology Centre, N–5020 Bergen, Norway, 2: University of Bergen, Department of Molecular Biology, Bergen High Technology Centre, N–5020 Bergen, Norway, 3: Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 1870 Nordnes, N–5024 Bergen, Norway

Publication date: December 1, 1998


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