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Keywords:

  • macronutrient selection;
  • feeding behaviour;
  • nutrient utilization;
  • geometric models

Abstract

A good understanding of the capabilities of commercially reared fish species to regulate intake of specific macronutrients has potential economic, welfare and environmental benefits. We present a conceptual and experimental framework for studying macronutrient intake in fish. This ‘geometric’ approach addresses the multidimensional and interactive nature of nutrition. It was developed from work on insect herbivores and has successfully been applied to mammals and birds. The various components of the framework are introduced in simple outlines, and key experimental designs are described for assessing whether or not fish specifically regulate their intake of macronutrients, how they balance over-ingesting some nutrients against undereating others when provided with suboptimal diets, and how they regulate growth post-ingestively.