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Mechanistic modelling of gastric evacuation in predatory gadoids applying the square root model to describe surface‐dependent evacuation

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A new model approach to gastric evacuation in predatory fishes was shown to give accurate and reliable estimates of evacuation. It is believed that such a model would prove particularly useful in understanding predator‐prey interactions in natural systems. The model is a simple, geometric abstraction of the square root model predicting that evacuation time is proportional to the square root of meal size in accordance with extensive empirical evidence. Digestive processes are assumed to be restricted to an outer surface of total stomach content that is represented by the curved side of a cylinder. This way, total stomach content is considered a cylinder of constant length the mass of which is gradually reduced by successive peeling off its side leaving the ends unaffected. The fundamental rate describes mean thickness of the layer that is peeled off the cylinder per time unit. In the model, is constant independent of cylinder thickness but inversely proportional to the square root of cylinder length. Anatomical and dynamic characteristics of the stomach render this formulation of plausible. Using mean evacuation rate over time during evacuation of a meal, the model disregards prey heterogeneities that influence instantaneous evacuation rate. Relationships between prey heterogeneities and evacuation patterns were indicated by application of a general power model to evacuation data, and it was suggested how the effects of prey characteristics might be incorporated into the square root model to produce a generic model of gastric evacuation.

Keywords: cylindrical prey geometry; gastric evacuation model; prey heterogeneity; prey homogeneity; surface‐dependent process

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, Department of Marine Ecology and Aquaculture, North Sea Centre, P. O. Box 101, DK-9850 Hirtshals, Denmark and 2: Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, Department of Marine Fisheries, Charlottenlund Castle, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark

Publication date: 2005-10-01

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