Biology Faculty & Staff Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



This book had its genesis in a rather disorganized and poorly conceived lecture on optimal foraging theory that one of us (GHO) gave to an advanced ecology class during the winter of 1971.The deficiencies in that treatment, combined with the obvious potential of an improved conceptualization and analysis of the problem, led to the formation of a small seminar on optimal foraging theory attended by Charles Fowler, Nolan Pearson and ourselves. This seminar, which extended over two academic quarters, produced the basic fine-grained foraging models and some hints about wider applications of the results. We both found ourselves independently stimulated to explore the implications of the ideas we had conceived for a wide range of ecological problems and these preliminary explorations, carried out while we were physically widely separated, were sufficiently rewarding that we decided to collaborate to produce the present work. We have individually brought to this effort very different skills and experiences and much of what there is of value in this book is the result of the mutual interplay of these contrasting abilities. One of us (ELC) has been primarily responsible for the mathematical formulations appearing in the following chapters, while the other (GHO) has provided a larger share of biological insights. Nevertheless we are quite unable to trace the genesis of most of our original ideas and we are both keenly aware that neither of us alone could have produced anything remotely resembling the present work.

Language (ISO)



foraging, evolution, optimization, behavioral ecology

Included in

Biology Commons