The Use of Information

To choose between alternative habitats or patches, individuals have to assess the relative quality of(i.e., the expected fitness for) each alternative. Choosing a habitat or patch thus implies gathering and using a priori information on environmental variability, and this information may be critical. Due to the strong selective pressures on habitat selection, the use by individuals of any kind of information allowing them to improve their choice should be favored. Therefore, the existence of information-based habitat choice behaviors may be expected. This raises the questions of which type of information should be used, and how individuals sample the environment and acquire information. In theory, individuals should evaluate all characteristics affecting the success of the activity considered in each site. This could clearly become prohibitive in terms of time and energy when many factors influence this activity independently or at different moments. Therefore, individual strategies for choosing a habitat or patch based on cues integrating the effect of various factors on expected fitness, or that mix different information, may be especially favored.

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