The effect of foraging parameters on the probability that a dive is successful

Alasdair I. Houston, John M. McNamara, Jon E. Heron, Z. Barta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the foraging decisions of an animal that dives to obtain its food. It might seem reasonable to use the probability that the diver is successful in any dive as an indicator of habitat quality. We use a dynamic model of optimal prey choice to show that this interpretation of diving success is not generally valid. In particular, we show that diving success is not directly proportional to the overall rate of gain that can be achieved in an environment. Furthermore, some environmental factors can have a non-monotonic effect on the probability of success. For example, as the travel time to the foraging area increases, the probability of success may first increase and then decrease. We point out that the same conclusions are likely to apply in the context of mate choice, i.e. the probability of getting a mate may not be an indicator of the quality of the environment in terms of reproductive success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2451-2455
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume270
Issue number1532
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 7 2003

Fingerprint

foraging
Diving
diving
mate choice
Travel time
habitat quality
mating behavior
dynamic models
travel
travel time
reproductive success
Ecosystem
Dynamic models
Animals
environmental factor
Food
environmental factors
food
effect
parameter

Keywords

  • Diving
  • Indicator
  • Optimal choice
  • Probability of success

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

The effect of foraging parameters on the probability that a dive is successful. / Houston, Alasdair I.; McNamara, John M.; Heron, Jon E.; Barta, Z.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 270, No. 1532, 07.12.2003, p. 2451-2455.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Houston, Alasdair I. ; McNamara, John M. ; Heron, Jon E. ; Barta, Z. / The effect of foraging parameters on the probability that a dive is successful. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2003 ; Vol. 270, No. 1532. pp. 2451-2455.
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