New article on optimal movement… and on berry picking

We pursued our reinvestigation of the Marginal Value Theorem with an explicit consideration of resources and the functional response, which allowed us to obtain simple predictions on how the distribution of resources (mean and variance) should affect the rate of movement.

We show it all depends on the type of functional response. This makes for a behavioral analogous to the results on predator-prey stability and the “paradox of enrichment”.

These results are about to be published in Ecology Letters [ONLINE OPEN].

One (far-fetched) application is to answer this fundamental question for berry (or apple) pickers: “If trees bear more fruits, should I spend more or less time on each before moving to the next?”. The original MVT did not provide an answer. We find it to be: “More time… only if your functional response is decelerating (type-II) and if you do not lose too many fruits on your way between trees”. [Both conditions are very likely to be met for a seasoned picker]


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