Digestion and foraging

Christopher J. Whelan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Foraging consists of both ecological and physiological processes best conceived as a coordinated, whole organism process. When digestive physiology – gut structure and function – is rate-limiting, most animals adjust the gut to increase capacity. Fluctuations in resource abundances, seasonal environmental changes, and aspects of the life cycle, like reproduction and migration, cause changes in diet. Such changes in diet induce adjustment or modulation of gut structure and/or function to permit high efficiency and processing capacity in response to those changes. We can thus view the flexible gut as a vital and integral component of an animal’s foraging strategy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Animal Behavior
EditorsMichael D. Breed, Janice Moore
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherAcademic Press
ISBN (Print)978-0-08-045337-8
StatePublished - 2010


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