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Optimal Foraging in Swirl

By Mary Elizabeth McWhirt1, Emily Weigel1

Georgia Institute of Technology

This lesson centers around the marginal value theorem (MVT, Charnov 1976), which describes how animals should forage in patches. It serves as a pre-lab to teach MVT basics, vectors, ANOVA, and basic plotting.

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group Make Teaching with R in Undergraduate Biology Less Excruciating

Additional materials available

Version 1.0 - published on 15 Jul 2019 doi:10.25334/38NY-HP77 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Description

Overview: This lesson centers around the marginal value theorem (MVT, Charnov 1976), which describes how animals should forage in patches. The students will complete a lesson in R to practice using data they will collect directly as they ‘forage’ in an in-class lab. Specifically, they will practice creating vectors and tables of data to use in plotting and creating an ANOVA to compare high-, medium-, and low-density patches by their associated giving-up time (GUT) data. Students are then expected to repeat the coding steps they learned in R with example data to later test a hypothesis of their own.

 

Learning objectives:

  1. Complete a prelab reading to familiarize themselves with the goals of the lesson and the background ecological information of optimal foraging
  1. Practice coding elements necessary to create data frames, plot, and test MVT hypotheses based on the data
  1. Apply the coding learned through swirl to their own hypothesis to answer whether different density patches lead to different GUTs

 

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Make Teaching with R in Undergraduate Biology Less Excruciating

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