Laboratory evaluation of two bioenergetics models applied to yellow perch: Identification of a major source of systematic error

P. G. Bajer, G. W. Whitledge, R. S. Hayward, R. D. Zweifel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Laboratory growth and food consumption data for two size classes of age 2 year yellow perch Perca flavescens, each fed on two distinct feeding schedules at 21°C, were used to evaluate the abilities of the Wisconsin (WI) and Karas-Thoresson (KT) bioenergetics models to predict fish growth and cumulative consumption. Neither model exhibited consistently better performance for predicting fish body masses across all four fish size and feeding regime combinations. Results indicated deficiencies in estimates of resting routine metabolism by both models. Both the WI and KT models exhibited errors for predicting growth rates, which were strongly correlated with food consumption rate. Consumption-dependent prediction errors may be common in bioenergetics models and are probably the result of deficiencies in parameter values or assumptions within the models for calculating energy costs of specific dynamic action, feeding activity metabolism or egestion and excretion. Inter-model differences in growth and consumption predictions were primarily the result of differences in egestion and excretion costs calculated by the two models. The results highlighted the potential importance of parameters describing egestion and excretion costs to the accuracy of bioenergetics model predictions, even though bioenergetics models are generally regarded as being insensitive to these parameters. The findings strongly emphasize the utility and necessity of performing laboratory evaluations of all bioenergetics models for assurance of model accuracy and for facilitation of model refinement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-454
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of fish biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioenergetics
  • Consumption
  • Growth
  • Perca flavescens


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