US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
Selectivity in suspension feeders: food quality and the cost of being selective
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
There is considerable variety in both the selective behavior of suspension feeders and the quality of food available to them. We incorporate this variability into a simple model of particle selection in order to examine the relationship between the degree of selectivity exercised, the value of food items available, and the potential consequences of feeding selectively. If particle values differ greatly,. selectivity is favored; if toxic particles occur, a high degree of selectivity may be required for survival. Greater similarity of particle values leads to a lower profitability of’ selection, with decreased selectivity favored at low availability of preferred items. To offset costs associated with the selective process, enhanced returns through highly discriminatory feeding and necessary. When particle toxicity is a hazard, co s are easily outweighed by enhanced diet quality. Use Of this approach ·may aid in understanding patterns of individual feeding behavior and the relative success of different feeding strategies under various environmental conditions.