Our research explores animal foraging at all stages of the process: from whether, how and why animals visit food patches, to how long they stay, and why they quit.
We investigate not only the ultimate drivers of foraging relating to risks and rewards, but also the proximate drivers such as the rules of thumb (heuristics) they use in making foraging decisions, to how and how well they solve problems while they forage.
Our research is currently focused on two main themes:
Our fundamental discoveries can be used to improve the conservation and management of species.
Our research spans four integrated research domains:
We explore how personality shapes the diet, habitat use and movement ecology and problem-solving capacity of individuals, altering their response to predation risk and their propensity to pick up and transmit parasites.
In quantifying how plant toxins affect more than food intake by herbivores (by affecting how they mix and switch between food types), we can develop more realistic models of how herbivores forage in space and time in a realistic ecological context.
By then uniting the dual influence, and often the dilemma, associated with the chemistry of food and the risk of predation, we provide unique insights into foraging ecology, such as how individual foragers balance the costs and benefits of finding good food in risky places.