Suppose a tree squirrel living in the conifer forests near La Grande eats seeds that it extracts from pine cones and fungi that it finds on the forest floor. Also, suppose that currently it takes an average of 2 minutes to find a cone and 4 minutes to find a fungus. It takes 10 minutes to break open the cone and eat the seeds and 1 minute to consume a fungus. On the average, all the seeds together contain 60 calories and each fungus contains 30 calories.
1. If the squirrel forages optimally, which of these two foods should it eat, assuming that seeds and fungi are both plentiful? Show calculations and explain logic.
2. Suppose, however, you find the squirrel eating the other food. What is one reason it might do so? Still assume that seeds and fungi are both plentiful.
This question was answered on: Sep 16, 2020
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