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.
|Translated title of the contribution||The effect of foraging parameters on the probability that a dive is successful|
|Pages (from-to)||2451 - 2455|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2003|
Bibliographical notePublisher: Royal Society
Other identifier: IDS number 751UV