Modelling growth of larval anchovies including diel feeding patterns, temperature and body size

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A reliable representation of physiology in models of larval fish is essential to understand how environmental factors affect growth rates. In particular, individual-based models of larval fish typically contain detailed bioenergetic modules that couple energy intake, temperature and body conditions to growth. These modules rely on experimental studies for their formulation and parameterization, although for many species this information is still scattered and a constraint to model development. Here, we develop a bioenergetic model including gut flow, assimilation efficiency and metabolic costs of Engraulis mordax larval anchovy based on available experimental work and field observations, and use it to investigate individual growth under different daily feeding rations and frequencies, and temperature. At satiated feeding and similar temperature-conditions, the model predicts growth rates comparable to field estimates of E. encrasicolus (but higher than observed for E. japonicus), suggesting E. encrasicolus grow near their physiological, temperature-limited rates in the field.

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