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Optimal foraging strategies: Lévy walks balance searching and patch exploitation under a very broad range of conditions

Optimal foraging strategies: Lévy walks balance searching and patch exploitation under a very broad range of conditions
Optimal foraging strategies: Lévy walks balance searching and patch exploitation under a very broad range of conditions
While evidence for optimal random search patterns, known as Lévy walks, in empirical movement data is mounting for a growing list of taxa spanning motile cells to humans, there is still much debate concerning the theoretical generality of Lévy walk optimisation. Here, using a new and robust simulation environment, we investigate in the most detailed study to date (24×106 simulations) the foraging and search efficiencies of 2-D Lévy walks with a range of exponents, target resource distributions and several competing models. We find strong and comprehensive support for the predictions of the Lévy flight foraging hypothesis and in particular for the optimality of inverse square distributions of move step-lengths across a much broader range of resource densities and distributions than previously realised. Further support for the evolutionary advantage of Lévy walk movement patterns is provided by an investigation into the ‘feast and famine’ effect, with Lévy foragers in heterogeneous environments experiencing fewer long ‘famines’ than other types of searchers. Therefore overall, optimal Lévy foraging results in more predictable resources in unpredictable environments.
Simulation, Composite Brownian, Predator, Movement, Power-law
0022-5193
179-193
Humphries, Nicolas E.
9246d06a-396a-4c05-9721-dc340e75a4d0
Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81
Humphries, Nicolas E.
9246d06a-396a-4c05-9721-dc340e75a4d0
Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81

Humphries, Nicolas E. and Sims, David W. (2014) Optimal foraging strategies: Lévy walks balance searching and patch exploitation under a very broad range of conditions. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 358, 179-193. (doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.05.032).

Record type: Article

Abstract

While evidence for optimal random search patterns, known as Lévy walks, in empirical movement data is mounting for a growing list of taxa spanning motile cells to humans, there is still much debate concerning the theoretical generality of Lévy walk optimisation. Here, using a new and robust simulation environment, we investigate in the most detailed study to date (24×106 simulations) the foraging and search efficiencies of 2-D Lévy walks with a range of exponents, target resource distributions and several competing models. We find strong and comprehensive support for the predictions of the Lévy flight foraging hypothesis and in particular for the optimality of inverse square distributions of move step-lengths across a much broader range of resource densities and distributions than previously realised. Further support for the evolutionary advantage of Lévy walk movement patterns is provided by an investigation into the ‘feast and famine’ effect, with Lévy foragers in heterogeneous environments experiencing fewer long ‘famines’ than other types of searchers. Therefore overall, optimal Lévy foraging results in more predictable resources in unpredictable environments.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: June 2014
Published date: 7 October 2014
Keywords: Simulation, Composite Brownian, Predator, Movement, Power-law
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 365412
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/365412
ISSN: 0022-5193
PURE UUID: f3dc32f3-9b27-43e5-af9b-9cec502317a1

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Date deposited: 04 Jun 2014 08:57
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 21:04

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