Journal of Theoretical Biology, 245(4), 749–762p. (2007) DOI:10.1016/j.jtbi.2006.10.025

Nonlinear time series analysis of food intake in the dab and the rainbow trout

J. W. King, K. Ruohonen, D. J. Grove, A. Hammerstein

Evidence suggests that dab and rainbow trout are able to quickly adjust their food intake to an appropriate level when offered novel diets. In addition day-to-day and meal-to-meal food intake varies greatly and meal timing is plastic. Why this is the case is not clear: Food intake in fish is influenced by many factors, however the hierarchy and mechanisms by which these interact is not yet fully understood. A model of food intake may be helpful to understand these phenomena; to determine model type it is necessary to understand the qualitative nature of food intake. Food intake can be regarded as an autoregressive (AR) time series, as the amount of food eaten at time t will be influenced by previous meals, and this allows food intake to be considered using time series analyses. Here, time series data were analysed using nonlinear techniques to obtain qualitative information from which evidence for the hierarchy of mechanisms controlling food intake may be drawn. Time series were obtained for a group of dab and individuals and a group of rainbow trout for analysis. Surrogate data sets were generated to test several null hypotheses describing linear processes and all proved significantly different to the real data, suggesting nonlinear dynamics. Examination of topography and recurrence diagrams suggested that all series were deterministic and non-stationary. The point correlation dimension (PD2i) suggested low-dimensional dynamics. Our findings suggest therefore that any model of appetite should create output that is deterministic, non-stationary, low-dimensional and having nonlinear dynamics.

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