by Jason Amores Sumpter
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foraging is the term for food seeking behaviors, and these can include searching for food, identifying food, capturing food and actually eating the food. So it's quite a comprehensive umbrella term for basically all things food related. Now I want to give you an example of a very interesting genetic mechanism that controls Cem foraging behavior. And this involves it's kind of gross, but fruit fly larva. Now they're gonna have this gene called four for Forage, and this is going to control their foraging behavior. There's going to be to a Leal's for this gene for our which is the rover Leela's. It's called in four s, which is the sitter Lille. Now, the way this gene controls behavior is that Rovers, as they're termed dudes with these wheels, will travel twice the distance for food as sitters will, and you can see a model of that here. The rovers are gonna move around a lot further than will the sitter's now, in terms of natural selection, low population densities will actually favor the four s Jean because in low population densities, you don't need to bother expending this much energy to find your food. However, Rovers will do better in other situations. For example, in certain high density population situations, foraging further will actually potentially lead to greater success in finding food because of all the competition with the other organisms. Now the optimal foraging model basically says that because natural selection favors foraging behavior that, uh, that is going to minimize costs and maximize benefits, we're going to see organisms perform their foraging in this way. You know, food is gonna be such a strong factor in natural selection because it's so essential to survival. So behavior surrounding obtaining food are going to be heavily, heavily shaped by natural selection. And so we're really going to see thes, you know, patterns that optimize thief, forging behaviors of organisms that allow them to minimize their costs and maximize their benefits. And that's what this graph here is trying to represent. Ease for energy. So we want Thio maximize the energy we obtain and, you know, for the amount of, uh, you know, expenditure. We have to dio in terms off finding that food. So you know that's going to involve putting yourself at risk and, you know, actually expending energy to find the food, like if you're predator and you have tow, run and jump and bite this animal in the neck a bunch of times before you get to eat. So there's always really gonna be this risk reward balance between energy expenditure and energy gain for organisms. And it should be noted that predation is gonna pose a great risk for a lot of animals when they're foraging and it's going to influence their behavior. For example, there are this, uh, this type of deer mule deer. Now, you know, dear, they're like the rats of the woods. They just just gonna go eat vegetation and stuff just everywhere. And they can really eat vegetation wherever they want. They could eat it in the forest. They could eat it at the edge of the forest, but they tend to eat it in the edges because of the influence of predation. Thes mule deer are at a far lower risk of being eaten by mountain lions when they're on the edges of the forest, as opposed to when they're in the forest. So even though there's food in all of these places, they're actually going to selectively forage in those edge environments. Now the main point to take away here is that animals are always going to maximize their feeding efficiency and balance their risk. And this is going to involve the risk of, you know, injury, the risk of predation and the risk of wasting a bunch of energy, you know, to get the optimal result. All right, let's go ahead and flip the page.