This Demonstration is an investigation into the efficiency of an animal (or organism) feeding in a circular food patch (gray circle) while traveling in a concatenated string of unit-length forward "hops". In between each hop, the animal executes precise turns through specific angles of all sizes that are chosen randomly from the probability distribution pictured in the upper left-hand corner. Food is distributed evenly inside the food patch, and every particle of food along the trajectory (the black line starting from the center of the patch) is "gathered" by the forager. Note that the animal does not find food in any place where it has previously traveled, or when it is outside of the food patch. Move the ... control back and forth to change the shape of the distribution from which sets of random angles are chosen, and to create sample trajectories using those sets. Click "take data point" to record a calculation of the amount of food that an animal would gather along the trajectory shown in the food patch. After taking several data points, attempt to find the optimal value of ... for the animal to use by fitting a curve to the data that has been collected. (The best ... is the one at which the animal should consistently be able to gather the most food!) This analysis can be performed for several patch sizes, as determined by the radius of the food patch, ... (lower slider).


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