Robin Boyd

How are pelagic fish populations impacted by food availability?



  • NERC Scenario DTP with CASE support from CEFAS

Start date:

  • October 2015


Pelagic fish are dependent upon phytoplankton for food, particularly at the larval stage. Still, current approaches are limited in their ability to account for the effects of heterogeneity in food availability on fish population dynamics. To address this, a spatially explicit, Individual-Based Model (IBM) is under construction, in which food is represented explicitly. Spatial and temporal variation in phytoplankton biomass is calculated from satellite remote-sensing and comprises food for first-feeding larvae. Larger fish are piscivorous and the food available to them emerges from the success of smaller individuals on which they predate. Energy obtained from food is allocated to each individual’s vital processes through a recently proposed energy budget. Thus, differential access to food results in variation among the physiological rates of the individuals.