Now listen to part of a lecture from a biology class.
All right. So I've got a good example of this. There's a bird, a species of crow, that lives near the water and it feeds on a type of shellfish that has a hard outer shell. In order to eat the shellfish, the bird has to crack open its hard shell. So when this bird feeds, what it does is: it dives down out of the air into shallow water, grabs a shellfish in its mouth, then carries the shellfish up in the air. It then drops the shellfish, lets it fall onto the rocks below. When the shellfish hits the rocks, its shell cracks and splits open and the bird can eat it.
Now, this bird, this crow, doesn't just swoop down, grab the first shellfish it sees and then fly up to any height and let it fall. Instead, it does two things.
First, it carefully selects only the biggest shellfish. That means it's going to get the biggest possible meal for its efforts. Okay? Second, it carries the shellfish up to a specific height, about five meters, and drops it from there. If the bird dropped the shellfish from a lower height, it would have to pick it p and drop it too many times in order to break the shell. On the other hand, if the bird carried the shellfish up to a higher altitude, an altitude higher than it's necessary to crack the shell, it would be wasting energy. So this bird expends just the right amount of energy - no more no less - that it needs to obtain just the right kind of food.
Using the example from the lecture, explain the concept of optimal foraging.
The reading passage introduces a term called “Optimal Foraging”, which means the energy-efficient approach to gaining food by maximizing food nutrition and minimizing foraging energies. The lecturer further illustrates this term by using the example of a species of crow. Firstly, this bird will dive down into shallow water and choose the biggest shellfish rather than grab the first shellfish it sees so that its efforts will yield greatest harvest. Second, the crow drops the shellfish from about five meters in the air to crack open the shell by the rock below. The height won’t be too little to break the shell at one time and won’t be too much to waste the flying energy.