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Patch Assessment and Forage Site Selection by a Drift-Feeding Stream Fish: An Application and Test of the Ideal Free DistributionEPA Grant Number: U915822
Title: Patch Assessment and Forage Site Selection by a Drift-Feeding Stream Fish: An Application and Test of the Ideal Free Distribution
Investigators: Wagner, Clifford M.
Institution: University of Georgia
EPA Project Officer: Jones, Brandon
Project Period: August 1, 2000 through August 1, 2003
Project Amount: $98,224
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2000) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology
The objective of this research project is to develop a comprehensive model of habitat selection for common and endangered stream fishes that incorporates the effects of biotic (competition) and abiotic (turbidity) sources of interference on foraging performance.
Factorial experimentation has proven to be a powerful tool in process-level investigations of aquatic organisms, but few studies to date have employed these techniques to quantify the algorithms by which higher organisms make foraging decisions (decision rules), and how altering an organism?s perception of the environment in an ecologically meaningful context affects the implementation of these rules. A series of such experiments will be undertaken in a recently constructed recirculating tank to investigate: (1) the effects of natural environmental variation (current velocity, group size, food availability) on intraspecific competition (rates of aggression); (2) the effects of intra- and interspecific competition on predictions of habitat selection theory (the ideal free distribution); and (3) the effects of turbidity on individual foraging success and habitat selection.
The results of these experiments will be combined with previous work to develop a general foraging model for two stream fishes (yellowfin shiner, rosyside dace) that will allow the investigation of the effects of anthropogenic perturbation on habitat selection in natural stream ecosystems.