Oct 18, 2008

Foraging decisions in risk-uniform landscapes

PloS One
Jana A Eccard, Thilo Liesenjohann


Behaviour is shaped by evolution as to maximise fitness by balancing gains and risks. Models on decision making in biology, psychology or economy have investigated choices among options which differ in gain and/or risk. Meanwhile, there are decision contexts with uniform risk distributions where options are not differing in risk while the overall risk level may be high. Adequate predictions for the emerging investment patterns in risk uniformity are missing. Here we use foraging behaviour as a model for decision making. While foraging, animals often titrate food and safety from predation and prefer safer foraging options over riskier ones. Risk uniformity can occur when habitat structures are uniform, when predators are omnipresent or when predators are ideal-free distributed in relation to prey availability. However, models and empirical investigations on optimal foraging have mainly investigated choices among options with different predation risks. Based on the existing models on local decision making in risk-heterogeneity we test predictions extrapolated to a landscape level with uniform risk distribution. We compare among landscapes with different risk levels. If the uniform risk is low, local decisions on the marginal valu...Continue Reading

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