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The spatial distribution of central place foraging pollinators in a landscape of mass-flowering crops

Robinson S, Cartar RV, Pernal SF, Hoover SE (2016) The spatial distribution of central place foraging pollinators in a landscape of mass-flowering crops. British Ecological Society Annual Meeting 2016, 11-14 Dec 2016, Liverpool, UK.

Abstract

Central-place foraging theory describes the space use of rate-maximizing organisms who return to a central place (nest, hive) after bouts of foraging. The distance that a central-place forager (CPF), including solitary and social pollinators, will travel from their central place depends in part on the costs of travel, as well as the rewards received during foraging. Competition among CPFs can deplete resources locally, changing the structure of rewards and causing CPFs to move further away. Many models of CPF behaviour have examined competition, patch exploitation, and energetics, but none have connected these pieces to build a general model of CPF behaviour in large foraging environments. In this study, we describe an energetically explicit model of central-place foraging based on the ideal free distribution, and test it using observations of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) foraging in mass-flowering canola (Brassica napus L.) fields in Alberta, Canada.

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