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Determining Parameters of the Numerical Response

D. J. S. Montagnes and J. A. Berges
Microbial Ecology
Vol. 48, No. 1 (Sep., 2004), pp. 139-144
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25153091
Page Count: 6
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Determining Parameters of the Numerical Response
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Abstract

The numerical response, the change in specific growth rate with food concentration, is a fundamental component of many aquatic microbial studies. Accurately and precisely determining the parameters of this response is essential to obtain useful data for both aut- and synecological studies. In this work we emphasize four points that are often ignored in designing numerical response experiments: (1) the inclusion of subthreshold concentrations (i.e., where growth rate is negative) in the experimental design; (2) an appropriate allocation of effort, i.e., the superiority of choosing more individual prey concentrations rather than replicating fewer; (3) the potential superiority of replicating experiments rather than simply replicating treatment in a single experiment; and (4) the placement of most measurements near the lower end of the concentration gradient, well below the asymptote, possibly following a geometric progression. We illustrate the first point by examining a small subset of published data on planktonic oligotrich ciliates and then, using a Monte Carlo simulation, rigorously evaluate the experimental design, supporting the remaining points.

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