Optimal foraging strategies: Lévy walks balance searching and patch exploitation under a very broad range of conditions

Humphries, NE; Sims, DW. 2014 Optimal foraging strategies: Lévy walks balance searching and patch exploitation under a very broad range of conditions. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 358. 179-193. 10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.05.032

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.05.032

Abstract/Summary

While evidence for optimal random search patterns, known as Lévy walks, in empirical movement data is mounting for a growing list of taxa spanning motile cells to humans, there is still much debate concerning the theoretical generality of Lévy walk optimisation. Here, using a new and robust simulation environment, we investigate in the most detailed study to date (24×10(6) simulations) the foraging and search efficiencies of 2-D Lévy walks with a range of exponents, target resource distributions and several competing models. We find strong and comprehensive support for the predictions of the Lévy flight foraging hypothesis and in particular for the optimality of inverse square distributions of move step-lengths across a much broader range of resource densities and distributions than previously realised. Further support for the evolutionary advantage of Lévy walk movement patterns is provided by an investigation into the 'feast and famine' effect, with Lévy foragers in heterogeneous environments experiencing fewer long 'famines' than other types of searchers. Therefore overall, optimal Lévy foraging results in more predictable resources in unpredictable environments.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Composite Brownian; Movement; Power-law; Predator; Simulation
Subjects: Biology
Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Ecosystems and Environmental Change > Movement ecology, behaviour and population structure
Depositing User: Nick Humphries
Date made live: 25 Sep 2014 15:24
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:12
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/6191

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