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Initiation and spread of escape waves within animal groups
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Mathematics.
Univ Sydney, Sch Biol Sci, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.;Univ Sydney, Charles Perkins Ctr, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.;Univ Adelaide, Sch Agr, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia..
Chongqing Normal Univ, Coll Phys & Elect Engn, Chongqing 400047, Peoples R China..
Univ Sydney, Sch Biol Sci, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia..
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2015 (English)In: ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE, ISSN 2054-5703, Vol. 2, no 4, 140355Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The exceptional reactivity of animal collectives to predatory attacks is thought to be owing to rapid, but local, transfer of information between group members. These groups turn together in unison and produce escape waves. However, it is not clear how escape waves are created from local interactions, nor is it understood how these patterns are shaped by natural selection. By startling schools of fish with a simulated attack in an experimental arena, we demonstrate that changes in the direction and speed by a small percentage of individuals that detect the danger initiate an escape wave. This escape wave consists of a densely packed band of individuals that causes other school members to change direction. In the majority of cases, this wave passes through the entire group. We use a simulation model to demonstrate that this mechanism can, through local interactions alone, produce arbitrarily large escape waves. In the model, when we set the group density to that seen in real fish schools, we find that the risk to the members at the edge of the group is roughly equal to the risk of those within the group. Our experiments and modelling results provide a plausible explanation for how escape waves propagate in nature without centralized control.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 2, no 4, 140355
Keyword [en]
escape waves, collective animal behaviour, fish schools, self-organization
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-303559DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140355ISI: 000377965400006PubMedID: 26064630OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-303559DiVA: diva2:1037401
Available from: 2016-10-14 Created: 2016-09-20 Last updated: 2016-10-14Bibliographically approved

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Herbert-Read, James E.Sumpter, David J. T.
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