, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 22-30

Optimal activity times and habitat choice of moose

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A set of concepts was presented which could be used to model an animal's activity cycle and habitat choice as an optimization process. The model was applied to moose (Alces alces) summer activity and its predictions were consistent with observed feeding times and habitat selections. The optimization model had a goal of maximizing daily feeding time at the least possible energetic cost. This goal was consistent with a foraging strategy that maximized the intake of some nutritional component, i.e. energy, protein, etc. The optimization problem, however, was bounded. Three constraints appeared to limit the goal: body temperature must be maintained within set upper and lower limits, thermal equilibrium must be maintained over an extended period so the activity cycle strategy can be repeated and sufficient time must be spent ruminating.