General Ecology_Mahaffy_Date_031110

General Ecology_Mahaffy_Date_031110 - Energy continued Do I...

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Energy continued Do I really want to eat this? Central place for foraging Search and travel time Is it worth the trouble? Handling time Risk-sensitive foraging Optimal foraging Most successful individuals are those who fulfill their needs while incurring the lowest costs Diets are shaped by many factors Nutrition Competition Predation, etc… Testing optimal foraging theory Assume that natural selection favors attributes that maximize net gain in fitness Fitness: reproductive ability Produce specific hypothesis with quantitative predictions Can be tested Example 1: Crows (or gulls) foraging on mollusks Observe: Crows foraging on clams only Open and eat about 50% of the small one they dig up Explanation seems obvious Can’t open shell with beak open it by dropping the clam on the rocks Analysis Hunting crows have lots of decisions to make Which mollusk to pick up? How high to fly? How many times should it be dropped? Optimal foraging says: Crows will choose the mollusk that yields the greatest amount of energy for input energy Selection should favor good foragers and eliminate bad ones North Western crows foraging on whelks (Zach 1979)
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This note was uploaded on 08/29/2010 for the course BISC 302 taught by Professor Walsh during the Spring '08 term at University of Delaware.

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General Ecology_Mahaffy_Date_031110 - Energy continued Do I...

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