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Subject: Automated feeders for behavioural research
From: Amanda Maclean <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 18 Jan 2000 15:16:51 GMT

text/plain (55 lines)

Dear all,

I am looking for advice on the design of an automated feeder to dispense
discrete prey items to Atlantic salmon parr in a flume tank. I and my
colleagues have some ideas but rather than re-invent the wheel, we were
wondering if anyone out there had already dealt with the same kind of
problem. We are familiar with the type of automated feeders that supply
pelleted food on fish-farms, but these would not be suitable for the purpose
we have in mind (although they could possibly be adapted?). Because of the
scale of the experiment (30 or more food patches must be supplied at the
same time), it will not be possible to introduce food by hand and therefore
the input of food must be automated (possibly, but not necessarily,
involving computer control).

Specific requirements for the feeder are:

1. It should dispense bloodworm (chironomid larvae), preferably live.

2. It should dispense several hundred prey items per day.

3. It must be possible to vary the rate of food output i.e. The number of
items dispensed will be set at different levels from 1 to 60 per hour, with
the number of prey dispensed at a given level varying by no more than 2 or 3
items per hour, spaced as evenly as possible.

In case you're wondering what all this is in aid of, I've just started a
post-doc on the behavioural basis for population structuring, using Atlantic
salmon parr. The work will involve developing an advanced Ideal Despotic
Distribution computer model, incorporating data from experiments in the lab
and the field. The experiments will involve recording the responses of fish
to changes in food patch value and relating the responses to social rank -
thus the need for feeders that will reliably deliver a known amount of food
to a food patch.

I'll be very grateful to anyone who can offer help and advice on this matter.

Many thanks in advance,

Amanda MacLean

Fish Biology Group
Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology
Graham Kerr Building
Glasgow University
Glasgow G12 8QQ

Tel 0141-330-5340 (within UK)
Fax 0141-330-5971 (within UK)

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