Using implanted archival tags, we examined the effects of meal caloric value, food type (sardine or squid) and ambient temperature on the magnitude and duration of the heat increment of feeding in three captive juvenile Pacific bluefin tuna. The objective of our study was to develop a model that can be used to estimate energy intake in wild fish of similar body mass. Both the magnitude and duration of the heat increment of feeding (measured by visceral warming) showed a strong positive correlation with the caloric value of the ingested meal. Controlling for meal caloric value, the extent of visceral warming was significantly greater at lower ambient temperature. The extent of visceral warming was also significantly higher for squid meals compared with sardine meals. By using a hierarchical Bayesian model to analyze our data and treating individuals as random effects, we demonstrate how increases in visceral temperature can be used to estimate the energy intake of wild Pacific bluefin tuna of similar body mass to the individuals used in our study.
Keywords: HIF; archival tag; caloric intake; heat increment of feeding; hierarchical Bayesian model.