Optimality models in behavioral biology

JM McNamara, AI Houston, EJ Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


The action of natural selection results in organisms that are good at surviving and reproducing. We show how this intuitive idea can be given a formal definition in terms of fitness and reproductive value. An optimal strategy maximizes fitness, and reproductive value provides a common currency for comparing different actions. We provide a broad review of models and methods that have been used in this area, stressing the conceptual issues and exposing the logic of evolutionary explanations.
Translated title of the contributionOptimality models in behavioral biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413 - 466
Number of pages54
JournalSIAM Review
Volume43 (3)
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2001

Bibliographical note

Publisher: SIAM Publications
Other identifier: IDS number 470YE

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