Comparing observed and modelled growth of larval herring (Clupea harengusz): Testing individual-based model parameterisations
Keywords:IBM, marine fish, larval growth, feeding, behaviour, bioenergetics
Experiments that directly test larval fish individual-based model (IBM) growth predictions are uncommon since it is difficult to simultaneously measure all relevant metabolic and behavioural attributes. We compared observed and modelled somatic growth of larval herring (Clupea harengus) in short-term (50 degree-day) laboratory trials conducted at 7 and 13°C in which larvae were either unfed or fed ad libitum on different prey sizes (~100 to 550 µm copepods, Acartia tonsa). The larval specific growth rate (SGR, % DW d-1) was generally overestimated by the model, especially for larvae foraging on large prey items. Model parameterisations were adjusted to explore the effect of 1) temporal variability in foraging of individuals, and 2) reduced assimilation efficiency due to rapid gut evacuation at high feeding rates. With these adjustments, the model described larval growth well across temperatures, prey sizes, and larval sizes. Although the experiments performed verified the growth model, variability in growth and foraging behaviour among larvae shows that it is necessary to measure both the physiology and feeding behaviour of the same individual. This is a challenge for experimentalists but will ultimately yield the most valuable data to adequately model environmental impacts on the survival and growth of marine fish early life stages.
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