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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Lauderdale, Florida » Invasive Plant Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #304567

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT & EVALUATION OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS FOR INVASIVE SPECIES THREATENING THE EVERGLADES & OTHER NATURAL AND MANANGED SYSTEMS

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Title: Optimal foraging by birds: feeder-based experiments for secondary and post-secondary students

Author
item Pecor, Keith - The College Of New Jersey
item Lake, Ellen
item Wund, Matthew - The College Of New Jersey

Submitted to: The American Biology Teacher
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/8/2014
Publication Date: 3/1/2015
Citation: Pecor, K.W., Lake, E.C., Wund, M.A. 2015. Optimal foraging by birds: feeder-based experiments for secondary and post-secondary students. The American Biology Teacher. 77(3):192-197.

Interpretive Summary: Optimal foraging theory attempts to explain the foraging patterns observed in animals, including their choice of particular food items and foraging locations. Here, we describe three exercises designed to test hypotheses about food choice and foraging habitat preference using bird feeders. These exercises can be used alone or in combination, and can also provide a foundation for students to develop extensions incorporating the basic methodology. We see these exercises as most applicable in secondary and post-secondary education, but they could be adapted for a variety of educational environments and for students with a variety of backgrounds.

Technical Abstract: Optimal foraging theory attempts to explain the foraging patterns observed in animals, including their choice of particular food items and foraging locations. Here, we describe three exercises designed to test hypotheses about food choice and foraging habitat preference using bird feeders. These exercises can be used alone or in combination, and can also provide a foundation for students to develop extensions incorporating the basic methodology. We see these exercises as most applicable in secondary and post-secondary education, but they could be adapted for a variety of educational environments and for students with a variety of backgrounds.