A comparison of foraging strategies in a patchy environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

In this paper we compare foraging strategies that might be used by predators seeking prey in a patchy environment. The strategies differ in the extent to which predators aggregate in response to prey density. The approach to the comparison is suggested by the idea of evolutionarily stable strategies. A strategy is said to be evolutionarily stable if it cannot be invaded by another strategy. Thus we examine scenarios where a small number of individuals using one strategy are introduced into a situation where a large number of individuals using the other strategy are already present. However, our foraging models do not explicitly incorporate predator population dynamics, so we use net energy uptake as a surrogate for reproductive fitness. In cases where all of the patches visited by predators sustain prey populations, we find that for any pair of strategies one of them will have a higher net energy uptake than the other whether it is the resident or the introduced strain. However, which one is higher will typically depend on the total predator population, which is determined by the resident strain. If the predators leave prey densities high, the more aggregative strain will have the advantage. If the predators reduce prey densities to low levels the less aggregative strain will have the advantage. In cases where one strain of predators aggregates in response to prey density and the other does not, then there might be patches which do not contain prey but do contain (nonaggregating) predators. In those cases, there is the possibility that whichever strategy is used by the introduced strain will yield a higher energy uptake than that used by the resident strain. This suggests that if some patches are empty of prey then aggregative and non- aggregative strategies may be able to coexist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-46
Number of pages22
JournalMathematical Biosciences
Volume160
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1999

Fingerprint

Foraging
Predator
Prey
Genetic Fitness
foraging
predator
predators
Population Dynamics
Population
Patch
uptake mechanisms
Population dynamics
energy
Evolutionarily Stable Strategy
Strategy
comparison
evolutionarily stable strategy
Predator-prey
Energy
Fitness

Keywords

  • Evolutionary stable strategy
  • Foraging strategy
  • Multiple spatial scales
  • Predator aggregation
  • Predator-prey models
  • Reaction- diffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

A comparison of foraging strategies in a patchy environment. / Cantrell, Robert; Cosner, George.

In: Mathematical Biosciences, Vol. 160, No. 1, 08.1999, p. 25-46.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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