A model for the evolution of communal foraging in hierarchically structured populations

  • John K. Kelly
  • Published 2004 in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology


A kin selection model is described for populations in which groups of interacting individuals (trait groups, sensu Wilson 1975) are spatially situated within larger aggregations. The model predicts the optimal foraging strategy when resources are shared with other trait group members and there is an individual risk in foraging. The ecological mechanism of variation in group fitness, differential resource accumulation, is explicitly incorporated into the model. The optimal foraging rate obtained from this model depends on the product of a benefit-to-cost ratio and a relatedness parameter. The appropriate definition of relatedness for the evolution of communal foraging is determined by the details of the ecological interaction between consumers and resources. When competition is purely intra-specific, the genetic correlation among interactants relative to other members of the local aggregation defines the relatedness parameter applicable to selection on foraging propensity. When competition is primarily inter-specific, the genetic correlation among trait group members relative to the entire population defines relatedness.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00167961

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Cite this paper

@article{Kelly2004AMF, title={A model for the evolution of communal foraging in hierarchically structured populations}, author={John K. Kelly}, journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology}, year={2004}, volume={35}, pages={205-212} }