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Effect of sampling interval and temperature on the accuracy of food consumption estimates from stomach contents

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The effect of temperature and sampling interval on the accuracy of food consumption estimates based on stomach contents was studied using simulation. Three temporal patterns of feeding were considered (scattered throughout the day, one 5 h period or two 5 h periods) and gastric evacuation was modelled according to published values. Sampling intervals of 3 h gave reasonable food consumption estimates (2 to 19% error) at all temperatures. Comparably, sampling intervals as large as 12 h gave reasonable estimates of food consumption (1 to 20% error) when temperature was set to ≤10° C. At temperatures <5° C, even 24 h intervals (equivalent to one daily sampling) provided reasonable estimates of daily food consumption (2 to 19% error) for all but the highest gastric evacuation rate combined with one daily feeding period (47% error). The temperature effect on estimation error resulted from diminishing temporal fluctuations in stomach contents with slower gastric evacuation rates. It follows that sampling effort may be considerably minimized when estimating food consumption from stomach contents during periods with low temperatures such as the winter time experienced by temperate fishes.

Keywords: fish daily ration; gastric evacuation; sampling interval; stomach contents

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Tungasletta 2, N-7485 Trondheim, Norway

Publication date: January 1, 2005


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