Evol Ecol Res 1: 411-421 (1999) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Departure time versus departure rate: How to forage optimally when you are stupid
Frederick R. Adler1
and Mirjam Kotar2
1Departments of Mathematics and of Biology and 2School of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
Foragers unable to leave a patch at the optimal moment must act as constrained foragers. Extending the results of Houston and McNamara (1985), we compare a blundering forager that leaves patches at a constant rate with an unconstrained optimal forager that leaves patches at the optimal time. When a dimensionless measure of environmental quality exceeds a particular value, the blundering forager remains in patches longer on average than the unconstrained optimal forager. The relative success of the blundering forager is, paradoxically, lowest when its average departure time exactly matches that of the unconstrained optimal forager. When foraging in two dimensions, blundering provides a robust spatial foraging strategy for dealing with unknown differences in patch size.
Keywords: blundering foragers, error-constrained foraging, Marginal Value Theorem, optimal foraging.
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