The foraging benefits of information and the penalty of ignorance
Förlag: Blackwell, on behalf of the Nordic Ecological Society Oikos
Patch use theory and the marginal value theorem predict that a foraging patch should be abandoned when the costs and benefits of foraging in the patch are equal. This has generally been interpreted as all patches being abandoned when their instantaneous intake rate equals the foraging costs. Bayesian foraging – patch departure is based on a prior estimate of patch qualities and sampling information from the current patch – predicts that instantaneous quitting harvest rates sometimes are not constant across patches but increase with search time in the patch. That is, correct Bayesian foraging theory has appeared incompatible with the widely accepted cost–benefit theories of foraging. In this paper we reconcile Bayesian foraging with cost–benefit theories. The general solution is that a patch should be left not when instantaneous quitting harvest rate reaches a constant level, but when potential quitting harvest rate does. That is, the forager should base its decision on the value now and in the future until the patch is left. We define the difference between potential and instantaneous quitting harvest rates as the foraging benefit of information, FBI. For clumped prey the FBI is positive, and by including this additional benefit of patch harvest the forager is able to reduce its penalty of ignorance.
- ISSN: 0030-1299
- ISSN: 1600-0706