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Exploiting a Stochastic Foraging Environment

Gerritsma, Y.H. (2017) Exploiting a Stochastic Foraging Environment. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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The exploitation of one’s environment gives an individual a possibly critical fitness benefit to its equals. However, the factors that influence whether an individual can exploit its environment are currently poorly understood. The current study examines whether a gregarious species, the zebra finch (Taenopygia guttata), can exploit a stochastic environment and whether this is dependent on different types of fluctuation. Each individual has to work for their own food, where a set number of flights equals a set number of seeds, the reward. Two groups are compared to each other, where one group is subjected to a fluctuation in gain; an environment in which the reward fluctuates. The other group is subjected to a fluctuation in costs; an environment in which the amount of work required for a reward fluctuates. We observe that individuals perform better over time within a day and that individuals subjected to a fluctuation in gain even reach exploitation scores at the end of the day. These findings hold important implications for understanding foraging behaviour in dire times and may hold value to conservational biology.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:32
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:32

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