A predator's foraging performance is related to its ability to acquire sufficient information on environmental profitability. This process can be affected by the patchy distribution and clustering of food resources and by the food intake process dynamics. We simulated body mass growth and behaviour in a forager acting in a patchy environment with patchy distribution of both prey abundance and body mass by an individual-based model. Incur model, food intake was a discrete and stochastic process and leaving decision was based on the estimate of net energy gain and searching time during their foraging activities. The study aimed to investigate the effects of learning processes and food resource exploitation on body mass and survival of foragers under different scenarios of intra-patch resource distribution. The simulation output showed that different sources of resource variability between patches affected foraging efficiency differently. When prey abundance varied across patches, the predator stayed longer in poorest patches to obtain the information needed and its performance was affected by the cost of sampling and the resulting assessment of the environment proved unreliable. On the other hand, when prey body mass, but not abundance, varied among the patches the predator was quickly able to assess local profitability. Both body mass and survival of the predator were greatly affected by learning processes and patterns of food resource distribution.

Integrated modelling of foraging behaviour, energy budget and memory properties

INCERTI, Guido;
2010-01-01

Abstract

A predator's foraging performance is related to its ability to acquire sufficient information on environmental profitability. This process can be affected by the patchy distribution and clustering of food resources and by the food intake process dynamics. We simulated body mass growth and behaviour in a forager acting in a patchy environment with patchy distribution of both prey abundance and body mass by an individual-based model. Incur model, food intake was a discrete and stochastic process and leaving decision was based on the estimate of net energy gain and searching time during their foraging activities. The study aimed to investigate the effects of learning processes and food resource exploitation on body mass and survival of foragers under different scenarios of intra-patch resource distribution. The simulation output showed that different sources of resource variability between patches affected foraging efficiency differently. When prey abundance varied across patches, the predator stayed longer in poorest patches to obtain the information needed and its performance was affected by the cost of sampling and the resulting assessment of the environment proved unreliable. On the other hand, when prey body mass, but not abundance, varied among the patches the predator was quickly able to assess local profitability. Both body mass and survival of the predator were greatly affected by learning processes and patterns of food resource distribution.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1104373
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