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The Development and Field Test of a Tactical Model of the Planktivorous Feeding of White Crappie (Pomoxis Annularis)

Wright, David I., O'Brien, W. John
Ecological monographs 1984 v.54 no.1 pp. 65-98
Pomoxis annularis, computer simulation, fish, laboratory experimentation, light intensity, models, planktivores, predation, prediction, prey species, probability, stochastic processes, temperature, turbidity, zooplankton
A computer model was developed to predict the feeding selectivity of planktivorous white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) from a known distribution of zooplankton. The model was based on the assumption that each predation event could be subdivided into a series of independent steps: prey location, pursuit, attack, and retention. The probability that white crappie successfully completed each step was determined for potential zooplankton prey species in a series of laboratory experiments. The four steps were then incorporated into a stochastic model where the probability of a particular prey type being consumed is equal to the product of the probabilities of the individual steps. The model was field tested by sampling fish, zooplankton, and physical parameters from discrete depth strata in a small reservoir on nine dates from October 1978 through November 1979. The model proved to be very accurate at predicting the species and size distribution of the ingested prey across the range of light intensities, turbidities, temperatures, and zooplankton densities encountered. Prey consumption could not be characterized as simply size selective; rather, it reflected the selectivity expressed at each step in the feeding cycle.