We evaluated the performance of the Wisconsin bioenergetics model for lake trout Salvelinus namaycush that were fed ad libitum in laboratory tanks under regimes of low activity and high activity. In addition, we compared model performance under two different model algorithms: (1) balancing the lake trout energy budget on day t based on lake trout energy density on day t and (2) balancing the lake trout energy budget on day t based on lake trout energy density on day t + 1. Results indicated that the model significantly underestimated consumption for both inactive and active lake trout when algorithm 1 was used and that the degree of underestimation was similar for the two activity levels. In contrast, model performance substantially improved when using algorithm 2, as no detectable bias was found in model predictions of consumption for inactive fish and only a slight degree of overestimation was detected for active fish. The energy budget was accurately balanced by using algorithm 2 but not by using algorithm 1. Based on the results of this study, we recommend the use of algorithm 2 to estimate food consumption by fish in the field. Our study results highlight the importance of accurately accounting for changes in fish energy density when balancing the energy budget; furthermore, these results have implications for the science of evaluating fish bioenergetics model performance and for more accurate estimation of food consumption by fish in the field when fish energy density undergoes relatively rapid changes.
Additional publication details
Effects of activity and energy budget balancing algorithm on laboratory performance of a fish bioenergetics model