2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Digestive Efficiency of a Generalist Snake Predator (Thamnophis sirtalis)
Christopher M. Owens
Dr. Chad Montgomery, Faculty Mentor

Based on optimal foraging theory an organism will forage in such a way that maximizes prey intake while minimizing energy and time expended as well as risk of predation. Theoretically optimal foraging theory results in maximized fitness over the life of the organism. However, not all prey are created equally, and some may be digested more efficiently than others. Digestive efficiency is an important concept often omitted from optimal foraging theory because digestive efficiency takes into account the amount of energy that is actually absorbed from the prey. This study analyzes the digestive efficiency of the common garter Thamnophis sirtalis feeding on goldfish. The study compares the digestive efficiencies between different meal sizes, and different sizes of snakes in order to determine the optimal prey size for this species feeding on this prey type.

Keywords: Digestive Efficiency, Garter Snake, goldfish, Optimal Foraging Theory


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 39-2
Location: VH 1408
Time: 1:30

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