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Unformatted text preview: As we can see in the , the rate of calorie consumption decreases as the animal spends more time at one patch (the slope of the graph decreases). The total calories continues to increase, but the animal would benefit more by finding a fresh patch from which the rate of consumption would be higher. The easier to use graphical method is illustrated in . If we know how long it will take on average to find a new patch, we draw a line from that search time so that it is tangent to the curve. The point at which our line touches the curve is the optimal time to spend at the patch. After this time, the animal should leave. Figure %: The optimal time to spend at a patch The marginal value theory predicts that animals will remain in one patch longer when patches are scarce or far apart. Like the contingency model, the patch choice model is not perfect; it merely serves to approximate the amount of time an animal will spend in any one patch....
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 Winter '09
 Rodriguez
 Biology, Ecology

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