Gastric evacuation of mixed stomach contents in predatory gadoids: an expanded application of the square root model to estimate food rations
A mechanistic gastric evacuation model of mixed stomach contents was established. Its simple generic nature should prove useful for studying predator‐prey interactions in fish communities. Only prey lengths were required as additional input. Surface dependent digestive processes were considered to act on equal fractions of individual prey‐cylinder surfaces. Primary and interactive effects of size, energy density and resistance to digestion of individual prey in a stomach were described by the model. Model predictions of results from experiments on gastric evacuation of meals composed of different prey types demonstrated the capability of this model, as opposed to previously applied model principles, to predict evacuation of mixed stomach contents involving the three above‐mentioned prey characteristics. The study furthermore illustrated that estimates of food ration might be severely biased by using improperly formulated effects of prey characters on gastric evacuation, and demonstrated that the new model holds the potential to predict food ration and diet composition for wild populations of predatory fishes.
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