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Food Dispersion, Predation, and the Relative Advantage of Colonial Nesting

Jeffrey G. Kopachena
Colonial Waterbirds
Vol. 14, No. 1 (1991), pp. 7-12
Published by: Waterbird Society
DOI: 10.2307/1521272
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1521272
Page Count: 6
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Food Dispersion, Predation, and the Relative Advantage of Colonial Nesting
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Abstract

A graphical model of thresholds for colonial nesting in birds, based on the simultaneous influences of food dispersion and the effectiveness of antipredator behavior, can predict the most beneficial nesting dispersion for a given set of circumstances. At extreme levels of prey dispersion (highly uniform and predictable or extremely clumped and unpredictable), nesting dispersions will generally be those maximizing foraging efficiency. At intermediate levels of prey dispersion, antipredator advantages of colonial nesting can favor colonial nesting when, on the basis of prey dispersion, solitary nesting would otherwise be predicted. The model predicts the occurrence of a mixture of solitary and colonially nesting species at given intermediate levels of prey dispersion. Some examples specific to colonially nesting waterbirds are given.

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