### 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 language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 2451-2455 |

Number of pages | 5 |

Journal | Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences |

Volume | 270 |

Issue number | 1532 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - dec. 7 2003 |

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### ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

### Cite this

*Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences*,

*270*(1532), 2451-2455. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2003.2540

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

Research output: Article

*Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences*, vol. 270, no. 1532, pp. 2451-2455. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2003.2540

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The effect of foraging parameters on the probability that a dive is successful

AU - Houston, Alasdair I.

AU - McNamara, John M.

AU - Heron, Jon E.

AU - Barta, Z.

PY - 2003/12/7

Y1 - 2003/12/7

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Diving

KW - Indicator

KW - Optimal choice

KW - Probability of success

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0344629192&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0344629192&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1098/rspb.2003.2540

DO - 10.1098/rspb.2003.2540

M3 - Article

C2 - 14667334

AN - SCOPUS:0344629192

VL - 270

SP - 2451

EP - 2455

JO - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

JF - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

SN - 0962-8436

IS - 1532

ER -