Skip to main content
Select Source:

marginal value theorem

marginal value theorem A mathematical rule, proposed by E. L. Charnov in 1976, according to which the optimum time a foraging animal remains in a patch is defined in terms of the rate at which the forager is extracting energy at the time it leaves (the marginal value of the patch). The optimum foraging strategy is to abandon each patch when the rate of energy extraction from it falls to a certain level, this level being the same for all patches. The theorem predicts that foragers will remain a shorter time in patches with little food than in patches with more food, patches will be abandoned more quickly when they are close together than when they are scattered, and patches will be abandoned more quickly in an area of abundance than in a poorer area.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"marginal value theorem." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"marginal value theorem." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 21, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/marginal-value-theorem-0

"marginal value theorem." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved November 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/marginal-value-theorem-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

marginal value theorem

marginal value theorem A mathematical rule, proposed by E. L. Charnov in 1976, according to which the optimum time a foraging animal remains in a patch is defined in terms of the rate at which the forager is extracting energy at the time it leaves (the marginal value of the patch). The optimum foraging strategy is to abandon each patch when the rate of energy extraction from it falls to a certain level, this level being the same for all patches. The theorem predicts that foragers will remain a shorter time in patches with little food than in patches with more food, patches will be abandoned more quickly when they are close together than when they are scattered, and patches will be abandoned more quickly in an area of abundance than in a poorer area.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"marginal value theorem." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"marginal value theorem." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 21, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/marginal-value-theorem

"marginal value theorem." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved November 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/marginal-value-theorem

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.