chapter  16
18 Pages

Foraging Search at the Edge of Chaos

ByGeorge E. Mobus, Paul S. Fisher

Many animal species are faced with the problem of finding sparsely distributed resources that occur (and disappear) dynamically in a huge space. Furthermore the dynamics of these resources are stochastic and probably chaotic in terms of both spatial and temporal distribution. But they are not completely random. The search strategy is called foraging. It involves two interrelated phases that dominate the behavior of the animal based on the amount of knowledge it has regarding the location and timing of the resource. In the absence of knowledge or cues foraging animals adopt a stochastic search pattern that will have a reasonably high likelihood of bringing them into encounters with the resource. With knowledge or cues, the animal switches to a more directed search behavior.