Population consumption is an important process linking predator populations to their prey resources. Simple tools are needed to enable fisheries managers to estimate population consumption. We assembled 74 individual estimates of annual consumption by freshwater fish populations and their mean annual population size, 41 of which also included estimates of mean annual biomass. The data set included 14 freshwater fish species from 10 different bodies of water. From this data set we developed two simple linear regression models predicting annual population consumption. Log-transformed population size explained 94% of the variation in log-transformed annual population consumption. Log-transformed biomass explained 98% of the variation in log-transformed annual population consumption. We quantified the accuracy of our regressions and three alternative consumption models as the mean percent difference from observed (bioenergetics-derived) estimates in a test data set. Predictions from our population-size regression matched observed consumption estimates poorly (mean percent difference = 222%). Predictions from our biomass regression matched observed consumption reasonably well (mean percent difference = 24%). The biomass regression was superior to an alternative model, similar in complexity, and comparable to two alternative models that were more complex and difficult to apply. Our biomass regression model, log10(consumption) = 0.5442 + 0.9962 · log10(biomass), will be a useful tool for fishery managers, enabling them to make reasonably accurate annual population consumption predictions from mean annual biomass estimates.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/clay_pierce/23/