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Type: Journal article
Title: Adaptive collective foraging in groups with conflicting nutritional needs
Author: Senior, A.
Lihoreau, M.
Charleston, M.
Buhl, J.
Raubenheimer, D.
Simpson, S.
Citation: Royal Society Open Science, 2016; 3(4):150638-1-150638-15
Publisher: The Royal Society
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 2054-5703
Statement of
Alistair M. Senior, Mathieu Lihoreau, Michael A. Charleston, Jerome Buhl, David Raubenheimer and Stephen J. Simpson
Abstract: Collective foraging, based on positive feedback and quorum responses, is believed to improve the foraging efficiency of animals. Nutritional models suggest that social information transfer increases the ability of foragers with closely aligned nutritional needs to find nutrients and maintain a balanced diet. However, whether or not collective foraging is adaptive in a heterogeneous group composed of individuals with differing nutritional needs is virtually unexplored. Here we develop an evolutionary agent-based model using concepts of nutritional ecology to address this knowledge gap. Our aim was to evaluate how collective foraging, mediated by social retention on foods, can improve nutrient balancing in individuals with different requirements. The model suggests that in groups where inter-individual nutritional needs are unimodally distributed, high levels of collective foraging yield optimal individual fitness by reducing search times that result from moving between nutritionally imbalanced foods. However, where nutritional needs are highly bimodal (e.g. where the requirements of males and females differ) collective foraging is selected against, leading to group fission. In this case, additional mechanisms such as assortative interactions can coevolve to allow collective foraging by subgroups of individuals with aligned requirements. Our findings indicate that collective foraging is an efficient strategy for nutrient regulation in animals inhabiting complex nutritional environments and exhibiting a range of social forms.
Keywords: Foraging; individual-based model; nutritional geometry; collective decisions; social interactions; sociality
Rights: © 2016 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150638
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Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications
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