Integration of pecking, Filter feeding and drinking mechanisms in waterfowl

Acta Biotheoretica 39 (2) (1991)
This paper is one of several contributions in a series, illustrating the application of a specific deductive methodology to explain diversity of form. The methodology facilitates the explanation of feeding morphologies in various ducks as a transformation of the mallard's feeding design maximized for specific proportions of performance that are contributed by pecking and filter feeding mechanisms.The earlier described anatomy and formal analyses of the three mechanisms in the mallard served as the initial conditions used in simulation models. Four elements of the feeding system were chosen that play a major role in all three mechanisms. For each element, the main parameter was selected: storage capacity of the rostral mouth cavity, transport capacity of the rostral mouth tube, storage capacity of the caudal mouth cavity and transport capacity of the caudal mouth tube. The boundary conditions for the simulation were determined from internal organismic constraints. The total food uptake of the mallard was regarded as the function to be maximized. This object function is the summation of the food uptake by one second of pecking and one second of filter feeding. The drinking mechanism was shown not to interfere, since that mechanism operates sufficiently whenever the pumping mechanism works properly.
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