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Am Nat. 2005 Nov;166(5):633-41. Epub 2005 Sep 9.

Info-gap robust-satisficing model of foraging behavior: do foragers optimize or satisfice?

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Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel.


In this note we compare two mathematical models of foraging that reflect two competing theories of animal behavior: optimizing and robust satisficing. The optimal-foraging model is based on the marginal value theorem (MVT). The robust-satisficing model developed here is an application of info-gap decision theory. The info-gap robust-satisficing model relates to the same circumstances described by the MVT. We show how these two alternatives translate into specific predictions that at some points are quite disparate. We test these alternative predictions against available data collected in numerous field studies with a large number of species from diverse taxonomic groups. We show that a large majority of studies appear to support the robust-satisficing model and reject the optimal-foraging model.

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