Optimal Foraging Theory

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Brennen Hodge April 23. 2009 Biological Research Dr. Rauch Optimal Foraging Theory The topic of this paper is optimal foraging theory. With that in mind, some ideas need to be described first. Organisms are constantly interacting with the environment they are present in. Each organism has its role to play in the environment to keep the cycle of life regulated in a biosphere. The environment an organism lives in includes all external factors, such as abiotic and biotic factors, and is constantly changing. This continuous process demands the efforts of scientists and biologist to study and document the actions of each organism. The study of organisms and their interactions with their environment is termed ecology. Ecology is a broad science and includes some of these examples: Population processes, including reproduction, death, migrations, and death; interspecific interactions such as competition, predation, mutualism, and parasitism; structures of animal and plant communities, and the flow of energy and nutrients through an ecosystem. Ecology is typically considered a branch of biology, which is the general science that studies living organisms. This science is associated with the highest levels of biological organization, including the individual organism, the population, the ecological community, and the ecosystem and biosphere as a whole. The focus of this paper is to describe the foraging processes of birds and how the ecological community affects their actions. Foraging behavior of organisms has been a central concern of ecology and has been widely documented for most species. The theory of optimal foraging states that organisms forage in such a way to maximize their energy intake per unit time. This means that they try to capture and consume food containing the most calories while using up the least amount of energy and doing this in
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