Aawaz R. Pokhrel '19, Gettysburg College
Julia A. Giannini '18, Gettysburg College
Throughout the animal kingdom, animals frequently benefit from living in groups. Models of collective behaviour show that simple local interactions are sufficient to generate group morphologies found in nature (swarms, flocks and mills). However, individuals also interact with the complex noisy environment in which they live. In this work, we experimentally investigate the group performance in navigating a noisy light gradient of two unrelated freshwater species: golden shiners (Notemigonuscrysoleucas) and rummy nose tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri). We find that tetras outperform shiners due to their innate individual ability to sense the environmental gradient. Using numerical simulations, we examine how group performance depends on the relative weight of social and environmental information. Our results highlight the importance of balancing of social and environmental information to promote optimal group morphologies and performance.
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Puckett, James G., Aawaz R. Pokhrel, and Julia A. Giannini. "Collective gradient sensing in fish schools." Scientific Reports 8 (1): 7587.
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Original version is available from the publisher at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-26037-9#Sec12