Document Detail

Group foraging sensitivity to predictable and unpredictable changes in food distribution: past experience or present circumstances?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12216977     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The ideal free distribution theory (Fretwell & Lucas, 1970) predicts that the ratio of foragers at two patches will equal the ratio of food resources obtained at the two patches. The theory assumes that foragers have "perfect knowledge" of patch profitability and that patch choice maximizes fitness. How foragers assess patch profitability has been debated extensively. One assessment strategy may be the use of past experience with a patch. Under stable environmental conditions, this strategy enhances fitness. However, in a highly unpredictable environment, past experience may provide inaccurate information about current conditions. Thus, in a nonstable environment, a strategy that allows rapid adjustment to present circumstances may be more beneficial. Evidence for this type of strategy has been found in individual choice. In the present experiments, a flock of pigeons foraged at two patches for food items and demonstrated results similar to those found in individual choice. Experiment 1 utilized predictable and unpredictable sequences of resource ratios presented across days or within a single session. Current foraging decisions depended on past experience, but that dependence diminished when the current foraging environment became more unpredictable. Experiment 2 repeated Experiment I with a different flock of pigeons under more controlled circumstances in an indoor coop and produced similar results.
Kenneth E Bell; William M Baum
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior     Volume:  78     ISSN:  0022-5002     ISO Abbreviation:  J Exp Anal Behav     Publication Date:  2002 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-09-09     Completed Date:  2003-02-12     Revised Date:  2010-09-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0203727     Medline TA:  J Exp Anal Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  179-94     Citation Subset:  IM    
Rivier College, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Behavior, Animal*
Feeding Behavior*
Time Factors

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