Project Summary

I was involved in 2015-2016 on this project headed by James R. Watson, with the purpose of going beyond simple models of optimal foraging to include social interactions between predators/resource users.

My job was to develop a mechanistic derivation for the functional response of a group of predators who can share information and defend resource patches in a random environment. I tested that solution extensively against Agent-Based simulations, to confirm that simple assumptions are enough to capture the main trade-offs and predict quantitative outcomes of spatial dynamics.

This project branched into two applications: one to fisheries, with an interest in how uncertainty and stochasticity in resource use create divergent social incentives for cooperation; another to pilot whales, with a focus on the optimality of sonar directionality.


  1. The Spatial Dynamics of Predators and the Benefits and Costs of Sharing Information
  2. The dual impact of ecology and management on social incentives in marine systems
  3. Collective foraging in deep-diving whales
  4. How ecology shapes exploitation: a framework to predict the behavioural response of natural resource users along exploration-exploitation tradeoffs