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15 Community ecology homework shortest answer if possible

Environmental Science
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5.      For robins small worms contain 25 calories of energy, cost 10 calories and take 2 minutes to harvest.  For the same birds medium worms contain 50 calories and cost 15 calories and take 3 minutes to harvest.  Large worms contain 75 calories, cost 30 calories and take 5 minutes to harvest.  Based on optimal foraging theory, what sized worms should robins favor?  Explain your logic!

Apr 15th, 2015

The optimal foraging theory states, that in order to maximize the overall amount of energy gain, the prey is chosen by the following:  if E – is energy value and h - is prey handling time, the choice will be with whichever will have higher  - energy/handling time value. For small worms the ratio will be (25calories-10calories) / 2 minutes = 7.5, form medium worms the ratio will be (50calories – 15calories)/3minues = 11.7 and for large worms, the ratio will be (75calories-30calories)/5 = 9.

Therefore it is clear that medium worms have the highest energy / handling time value and should be robins' first choice, then large-sized worms and the last are small worms,- due to the above mentioned reasons.


Apr 15th, 2015

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