Stillman, R. A., 2008. MORPH – An individual-based model to predict the effect of environmental change on foraging animal populations. Ecological Modelling, 216 (3-4), pp. 265-276.
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This paper describes an individual-based model, MORPH, that has been designed to predict the effect of environmental change on foraging animal populations. The key assumptions of MORPH are that individuals within populations behave in order to maximise their perceived fitness, but that perceived fitness may not always be positively related to the actual chances of survival and reproduction. MORPH has been parameterised for coastal birds on several European sites and predicted the effect of environmental change, caused by factors such as habitat loss, disturbance from humans and sea-level rise, on the survival and body condition of these species. However, MORPH contains a basic framework to describe animal physiology and foraging behaviour, and the distribution and abundance of the resources required by these animals. Therefore, MORPH is not restricted to coastal birds, and is potentially applicable to a wider range of systems. To be applied to a forager system, MORPH requires parameters describing (i) the distribution of the food supply and how food quality and abundance changes through time; (ii) the rate at which foragers consume food given the abundance of food and competitors; (iii) the amount of food the forager must consume each day to survive; (iv) the distribution and seasonal changes in other factors which influence the foraging behaviour and survival of foragers. The purpose of this paper is to (i) describe MORPH, (ii) give examples of its application, (iii) describe the types of systems to which MORPH can be applied, and (iv) publish its source code and a user guide.
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||Body condition; Fitness; Foraging behaviour; Mortality; Survival|
|Subjects:||Science > Biology and Botany|
|Group:||School of Applied Sciences > Centre for Conservation, Ecology and Environmental Change|
|Deposited By:||Dr Richard Stillman|
|Deposited On:||08 Oct 2009 08:10|
|Last Modified:||07 Mar 2013 15:15|
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