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Chapter 17 Quantitative Diet Analysis 17.2 Collection of fishes for study of diet. Should not use stressful methods eg. Rotenone Electroshocking Overnight gill netting Trawling at depth Good collection methods for diet studies Seine Cast net Short time gill netting or trammel netting

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Chapter 17 l.jpg

Chapter 17

Quantitative Diet Analysis


17 2 collection of fishes for study of diet l.jpg
17.2 Collection of fishes for study of diet.

  • Should not use stressful methods eg.

    • Rotenone

    • Electroshocking

    • Overnight gill netting

    • Trawling at depth


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Good collection methods for diet studies

  • Seine

  • Cast net

  • Short time gill netting or trammel netting


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Things to considerafter capture

  • Fish may regurgitate

  • Digestion continues

  • Fish may eat each other when confined


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17.3 Sampling strategies -

  • Amount and Type of Food

    • Diel cycle

    • Seasonal changes

    • Size of fish

    • Territoriality of fish

    • Differential digestion rates


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Sampling strategies (cont.)

  • Fish should be collected when the stomach is fullest

  • maximum information attained


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Sampling strategies (cont.)

  • Fish are sensitive to seasonal changes eg

    • Bluegill switch from invertebrates to algae at the end of the summer

  • Amazon river fish switch from invertebrates to detritus in the rainy season.

  • Sampling should be frequent throughout the year.


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    Sampling strategies (cont.)

    • Effects of fish size and territoriality

      • Diets vary with fish size and sex

      • As fish grow, they may switch from one prey type to another

      • Adult males and females may have different diets


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    Sampling strategies - Differential digestion rates

    • Stomach contents may not accurately reflect diet. Why?

    • Some prey, eg protozoans, are digested faster with little trace

      • Watch fish feeding in aquarium and compare with gut contents


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    Sampling strategies - Differential digestion rates

    • Slowly digested prey may accumulate and thus be over represented in the gut

      • Collect fish at peak of daily feeding intensity


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    17.4 Removal, fixation and preservation

    • Flushing of stomach with one or more volumes of water

    • Insertion of acrylic tubing through digestive tract

    • Dissection

    • Removal of gut contents


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    Collection from live animals works best on

    • Perches

    • Sunfishes

    • Catfishes

    • Trout


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    Dissection - Fish are killed as humanely as possible

    • Anesthetic

    • Sharp blow to head

    • Severing spinal cord column (small fish)


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    Fixation and preservation of gut contents

    • 10% formalin initially

    • Wash and soak in water

    • Preserve in 45-70% aqueous alcohol

    • Wear plastic gloves

    • Work in fume hood


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    If possible

    • Fix gut samples immediately after capture to avoid post capture digestion

    • Hold fish in ice

    • Slit the coelom to allow entry of formalin

    • Inject formalin directly into the coelom


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    17.5 Identification - partly digested prey

    • Made difficult by digestion

    • Find part of organism that is easily recognized

      • Exoskeleton in invertebrates

      • Otolith count for fish

      • Sculpturing along edges of leaves for macrophytes

      • Algae is found intact


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    Level of identification.

    • Family

    • Order

    • Relative size


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    17.6 Quantitative description … 3 approaches

    • Frequency of occurrence

    • Percent composition by number

    • Percent composition by weight


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    Frequency of occurrence

    • Fastest approach to quantitative analysis of gut content


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    When examining gut samples from fish

    • Compile cumulative list of foods found

    • Record presence or absence of each food for each specimen

    • One or more of each food is calculated as the frequency of occurrence


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    This method gives valuable insights...BUT

    • There are no limits to the information that it provides

    • High frequency does not mean given food is of nutritional importance

    • Does not give the importance of the various foods found


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    Frequency of occurrence

    • describes the uniformity with which groups of fish select their food

    • does not indicate the importance of the various types of food selected.


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    Percent Composition by number

    • Number of food items examined for each fish

    • Metric is the percentage of each food item


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    Choose fragment found only once per prey

    • Sub-sample for fish that eat smaller prey

    • Epifluorescence microscope used for counting bacteria

    • Sub-sample has to be smaller for fish that eat microscopic foods


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    Percent compositionby weight

    • Each food type expressed as a percentage of all food ingested

    • Both wet and dry weights are used

    • Dry-weigh until you attain constant weight

    • Wet-blot fluid from surface and then weigh

    • Dry weights are more precise than wet weights


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    Percent composition

    • Quantifies food types in directly comparable weight units

    • Suggests relative importance of individual food types in the nutrition of fish

    =

    1

    10


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    17.7 Analysis & interpretation - Selectivity Indices

    • Comparison of relative abundance of a given prey type in the diet vs relative abundance of that prey type in the environment

    • Index used is the Strauss index calculated as

      • L= ri-pi4


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    Diet overlap indices

    • Allow comparison of diets that are similar among species

    • Uses Schoener's proposed equation (refer to text)

    • Indices provides relative measures of the extent to which species use the same food resources

    • Does not produce absolute measures of competition


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