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Will Wilson : Consuming, Grouping and Coexisting: Resource-Mediated Aggregation

A general consumer--resource model assuming discrete consumers and a continuously structured resource is examined. We study two foraging behaviors, which lead to fixed and flexible patch residence times, in conjunction with a simple consumer energetics model linking resource consumption, foraging behavior, and metabolic costs. Results indicate a single evolutionarily stable foraging strategy for fixed and flexible foraging in a nonspatial environment, but flexible foraging in a spatial environment leads to consumer grouping, which affects the resource distribution such that no single foraging strategy can exclude all other strategies. This evolutionarily stable coexistence of multiple foraging strategies may help explain a dichotomous pattern observed in a wide variety of natural systems.

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