Upcoming conference: MBE 2015, Leicester

On April 28- May 1 I’ll be attending the 2015 “Modelling Biologicial Evolution” conference in Leicester, UK, which has quite an impressive set of invited speakers (http://www.math.le.ac.uk/people/ag153/homepage/MBE15/MBE15.htm).

I’ve set up a mini-symposium on adaptive diversification in ecological communities, with Florence Debarre, Louise van Oudenhove and Fabien Laroche as the other speakers. Looking forward to the event!

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]

New article on optimal movement

My first article on optimal behavior in patchy habitats has just been published online in the Journal of Mathematical Biology. It is available in Open-access from the journal :

How optimal foragers should respond to habitat changes: a reanalysis of the Marginal Value Theorem

Vincent Calcagno, Ludovic Mailleret, Éric Wajnberg, Frédéric Grognard

This is the first of a series of articles (which we informally call the “Charnov series”) where we revisit the celebrated Marginal Value Theorem from Charnov (1976), proving and expanding the theoretical predictions. In particular, we work out the adaptive consequences of habitat heterogeneity (i.e. resource distribution) on individual fitness and on the optimal rate of movement.