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Optimal foraging in patchy turbulent environments

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Publication details

JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
DatePublished - 2003
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)99-110
Original languageEnglish


The problem of what strategy a predator should adopt when foraging in a turbulent and spatially patchy environment is investigated using simple mathematical models. The study was motivated by the need to understand the behaviour of marine fish larvae searching for copepod prey. It is demonstrated that optimal swimming speed should decrease with increasing turbulence, and that in a patchy turbulent environment it is best to concentrate swimming activity within patches of prey until a threshold of turbulence is exceeded and swimming ceases to be energetically favourable. If the predator is unaware of its global environment, or is only able to make foraging decisions based on temporally and spatially local knowledge, then its ability to forage in a near-optimal manner is severely reduced.

    Research areas

  • optimal foraging, turbulence, patchiness, fish larvae, individual-based model, FISH LARVAE, SWIMMING BEHAVIOR, ENCOUNTER RATES, CONTACT RATES, PLANKTON, SCALE, DISTRIBUTIONS, GROWTH

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