Optimal Prey - species but rather distinguished by return...

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Optimal Prey-Choice Model The problem of what prey to harvest is addressed with prey-choice or "optimal diet" model This model has been used by anthropologists and archaeologists wanting to explain prey choice and resource utilization patterns among H-Gs (reviews in Smith 1991; Kaplan & Hill 1992; Kelly 1995; Grayson & Cannon 1999; Winterhalder & Smith 2000) Can use it to answer following kinds of questions: 1) Why are some groups specialized in their food resource choices, while others have more diverse diet? 2) Why does prey choice shift over short or long term? (some prey types taken at time 1 but passed up at time 2) 3) Why are abundant resources sometimes ignored? Why are scarce resources sometimes taken whenever encountered? 4) How is optimal prey choice affected by changes in resource abundance? Forager population density? Technology? Standard prey-choice model assumes following: 1) Prey (plants & animals) are divided into "prey types" (not necessarily Linnean
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Unformatted text preview: species, but rather distinguished by return per unit handling time -- see points 2) & 4) below) 2) Foraging time consists of two mutually exclusive categories : search time (for all acceptable prey types) and handling time (including pursuit once encountered, plus capture & processing; varies by prey type) 3) Prey items (not necessarily equal to individual organisms -- e.g., handful of berries, net-full of shrimp) are encountered singly and in uncorrelated fashion : simultaneous search assumption 4) Forager can rank all prey types along single dimension of value per unit handling time (a.k.a. "post-encounter return rate") 5) Goal is to harvest set of prey types which will maximize the overall return rate (i.e., Total Harvest / Total Foraging Time, the latter consisting of search time + sum of handling times) Given these assumptions, how would a forager determine the optimal range of prey types to harvest in any given situation?...
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