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Bioenergetic model sensitivity to diet diversity across space, time and ontogeny


Lawson, CL and Taylor, MD and Smith, JA and Payne, NL and Semmens, JM and Suthers, IM and Brodie, S, Bioenergetic model sensitivity to diet diversity across space, time and ontogeny, Frontiers in Marine Science, 8 Article 625855. ISSN 2296-7745 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 Lawson, Taylor, Smith, Payne, Semmens, Suthers and Brodie. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

DOI: doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.625855


Consumption is the primary trophic interaction in ecosystems and its accurate estimation is required for reliable ecosystem modeling. When estimating consumption, species' diets are commonly assumed to be the average of those that occur among habitats, seasons, and life stages which introduces uncertainty and error into consumption rate estimates. We present a case study of a teleost (Yellowfin Bream Acanthopagrus australis) that quantifies the potential error in consumption (in mass) and growth rate estimates when using diet data from different regions and times and ignoring ontogenetic variability. Ontogenetic diet trends were examined through gut content analysis (n = 1,130 fish) and incorporated into a bioenergetic model (the "primary " model) that included diet variability (n = 144 prey sources) and ontogenetic changes in metabolism (1-7 year) to estimate lifetime consumption. We quantified error by building nine model scenarios that each incorporated different spatiotemporal diet data of four published studies. The model scenarios produced individual lifetime consumption estimates that were between 25% lower and 15% higher than the primary model (maximum difference was 53%, range 11.7-17.8 kg). When consumption (in mass) was held constant, differences in diet quality among models caused a several-fold range in growth rate (0.04-1.07 g day(-1)). Our findings showcase the large uncertainty in consumption rate estimates due to diet diversity, and illustrate that caution is required when considering bioenergetic results among locations, times, and ontogeny.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bioenergetics, diet diversity, ecosystem model, energy-balance model, fish, trophic dynamics, estuary
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Payne, NL (Dr Nicholas Payne)
UTAS Author:Semmens, JM (Professor Jayson Semmens)
UTAS Author:Suthers, IM (Professor Iain Suthers)
ID Code:151420
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Australian Maritime College
Deposited On:2022-07-28
Last Modified:2022-08-24
Downloads:5 View Download Statistics

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