A lifetime perspective on foraging and mortality

Yearsley, Jonathan, Hastings, Ian M., Gordon, Iain J., Kyriazakis, Ilias, and Illius, Andrew W. (2002) A lifetime perspective on foraging and mortality. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 215 (4). pp. 385-397.

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Food intake carries many potential risks which may impair an animal's reproductive success not only in the current breeding cycle, but also for the rest of its lifetime. We examine the lifetime trade-off between the costs and benefits of food intake by presenting a simple animal foraging model, where each unit of food eaten carries with it a risk of mortality. We show that the optimal food intake rate over an animal's lifetime, for both semelparous and iteroparous animals, is not maximal. Instead, animals are required to strike a balance between the immediate reproductive benefits of gathering food and the future reproductive costs incurred by the food's mortality risk. This balance depends upon the lifespan of the animal as well as the nature of the risk. Different mortality risks are compared and it is shown that a mortality risk per unit time spent foraging is not, in general, equivalent to a mortality risk per unit of food consumed. The results suggest that a mortality risk per unit of food consumed, such as that presented by the presence of a toxin or of a parasite in the diet, has important consequences for feeding behaviour and is a possible factor involved in food intake regulation.

Item ID: 42581
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8541
Funders: Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060305 Evolution of Developmental Systems @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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