What Is the Optimal Foraging Theory?


Quick Answer

The optimal foraging theory is an ecological theory that organisms that forage for food do so in a way that maximizes their net caloric intake. This theory explains how organisms behave around food, why they capture the food they do and why they consume different food sources at different times.

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Full Answer

Organisms of the same species have vastly different diets even if they have all of the same resources. To understand why this is true, scientists developed the optimal foraging theory. They found that organisms tend to consume food with the highest caloric value to gain the most energy from their food. They don’t waste time eating small calorie meals and would rather go without a meal than expend energy obtaining very few calories.

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