Animals are often able to find food and keep feeding in very changeable and unpredictable environments. This requires flexibility, such as knowing how to find several types of food in the habitat, having sufficient energy stores to travel elsewhere, or being able to exploit richer but more risky habitats when hungry. Human activity is a major driver of environmental change and uncertainty, and so understanding how animals cope with it energetically is now more important than ever.
I’m a behavioural ecologist who strives to be an integrative animal biologist (bio). Here I’d like to take you for a brief tour on the three key drivers of foraging flexibility: energetics, life history and predator-prey interactions, and the consequences of foraging flexibility for wildlife conservation.