Energy and nitrogen budgets for the Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus (Pisces: Clupeidae), a filter-feeding planktivore.

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Growth rate increased linearly, and growth efficiency increased asymptotically, with an increase in either plankton concentration or the duration of feeding, provided that swimming speed remained constant. However, with increasing swimming speed, growth curvilinearly increased from zero to a maximum value and then declined back to zero. Growth efficiency followed a similar pattern, but reached its maximum value at a slower swimming speed than that which maximized growth. The swimming speeds which maximized growth rate were dependent on plankton concentration, but were independent of the duration of feeding. The swimming speeds which maximized gross growth efficiency depended on the duration of feeding, but were independent of food concentration. Swimming speed in the menhaden has evolved over time towards maximizing growth rate rather than growth efficiency. Swimming speeds in menhaden resulted in higher growth efficiency for nitrogen at low plankton abundance, but higher efficiency for calories at moderate to high plankton abundance. This accounts for the seasonal increase in the fat content of the menhaden during the summer, yet indicates that protein will be conserved when food abundance is low. -from Authors

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Fishery Bulletin