The consequences of partially directed search effort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Search effort is undirected when a forager has a stereotypical searching behaviour that results in fixed encounter rates with its prey (e.g. diet choice models), and is directed when the forager can bias its encounter with a 'chosen' prey. If the bias is complete, search is totally directed (e.g. habitat selection models). When the bias is incomplete (i.e. search modes are not exclusive to a single prey type), search is partially directed. The inclusion of a prey type in the diet is then the result of two decisions: (1) which prey to search for and (2) which prey to handle. The latter decision is determined by the ratio of energy to handling time and the abundance of the preferred prey. The former decision is a function of the encounter probabilities and densities of all potential prey types in addition to their ratio of energy to handling time. Assuming two prey types, there are three distinct behavioural strategies: (1) search for the preferred prey/forage selectively; (2) search for the preferred prey/forage opportunistically; and (3) search for the non-preferred prey/forage opportunistically. If prey are depletable (i.e. prey occur in resource patches), the forager may switch search modes such that prey are depleted to the point where the marginal values of the search modes are equalized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-277
Number of pages15
JournalEvolutionary Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998


  • Foraging theory
  • Indirect interactions
  • Multi-habitat patches
  • Partially directed search
  • Search images
  • Search modes
  • Short-term apparent competition


Dive into the research topics of 'The consequences of partially directed search effort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this