Behavioral Ecology Food: Optimal Foraging Models Theories of optimality involve a mathematical model of cost and benefit analysis that can give quantitative predictions about an animal's behavior. These hypotheses can be tested experimentally or through comparative phylogeny. By no means are these models fully accurate; each comes with certain assumptions and variations that are not included in these simple models. But we can often use the models to predict behavior to a reasonably certain degree. To some degree, animals display the ability to modify their behavior so that they receive an optimal balance of benefits and costs. Costs can include danger, loss of valuable time, and wasted energy. Benefits are usually counted in terms of net energy intake (consumed calories) per unit time or number of offspring produced. In this section, we will focus on optimal foraging methods to achieve the highest net energy intake. We will discuss reproductive fitness and the production of offspring in the
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This note was uploaded on 01/27/2012 for the course BIOLOGY BSC1005 taught by Professor Rodriguez during the Winter '09 term at Broward College.