On the methodology of feeding ecology in fish

Open access

Abstract

Feeding ecology explains predator’s preference to some preys over others in their habitat and their competitions thereof. The subject, as a functional and applied biology, is highly neglected, and in case of fish, a uniform and consistent methodology is absent. The currently practiced methods are largely centred on mathematical indices and highly erroneous because of non-uniform outcomes. Therefore, it requires a relook into the subject to elucidate functional contributions and to make it more comparable and comprehensive science. In this article, approachable methodological strategies have been forwarded in three hierarchical steps, namely, food occurrence, feeding biology and interpretative ecology. All these steps involve wide ranges of techniques, within the scope of ecology but not limited to, and traverse from narrative to functional evolutionary ecology. The first step is an assumption-observation practice to assess food of fish, followed by feeding biology that links morphological, histological, cytological, bacteriological or enzymological correlations to preferred food in the environment. Interpretative ecology is the higher level of analysis in which the outcomes are tested and discussed against evolutionary theories. A description of possible pedagogics on the methods of feeding ecological studies has also been forwarded.

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