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      Inferring the rules of interaction of shoaling fish

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          Abstract

          Collective motion, where large numbers of individuals move synchronously together, is achieved when individuals adopt interaction rules that determine how they respond to their neighbors' movements and positions. These rules determine how group-living animals move, make decisions, and transmit information between individuals. Nonetheless, few studies have explicitly determined these interaction rules in moving groups, and very little is known about the interaction rules of fish. Here, we identify three key rules for the social interactions of mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki): (i) Attraction forces are important in maintaining group cohesion, while we find only weak evidence that fish align with their neighbor's orientation; (ii) repulsion is mediated principally by changes in speed; (iii) although the positions and directions of all shoal members are highly correlated, individuals only respond to their single nearest neighbor. The last two of these rules are different from the classical models of collective animal motion, raising new questions about how fish and other animals self-organize on the move.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Novel Type of Phase Transition in a System of Self-Driven Particles

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            High-throughput Ethomics in Large Groups of Drosophila

            We present a camera-based method for automatically quantifying the individual and social behaviors of fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, interacting within a planar arena. Our system includes machine vision algorithms that accurately track many individuals without swapping identities and classification algorithms that detect behaviors. The data may be represented as an ethogram that plots the time course of behaviors exhibited by each fly, or as a vector that concisely captures the statistical properties of all behaviors displayed within a given period. We found that behavioral differences between individuals are consistent over time and are sufficient to accurately predict gender and genotype. In addition, we show that the relative positions of flies during social interactions vary according to gender, genotype, and social environment. We expect that our software, which permits high-throughput screening, will complement existing molecular methods available in Drosophila, facilitating new investigations into the genetic and cellular basis of behavior.
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              Inferring individual rules from collective behavior.

              Social organisms form striking aggregation patterns, displaying cohesion, polarization, and collective intelligence. Determining how they do so in nature is challenging; a plethora of simulation studies displaying life-like swarm behavior lack rigorous comparison with actual data because collecting field data of sufficient quality has been a bottleneck. Here, we bridge this gap by gathering and analyzing a high-quality dataset of flocking surf scoters, forming well-spaced groups of hundreds of individuals on the water surface. By reconstructing each individual's position, velocity, and trajectory, we generate spatial and angular neighbor-distribution plots, revealing distinct concentric structure in positioning, a preference for neighbors directly in front, and strong alignment with neighbors on each side. We fit data to zonal interaction models and characterize which individual interaction forces suffice to explain observed spatial patterns. Results point to strong short-range repulsion, intermediate-range alignment, and longer-range attraction (with circular zones), as well as a weak but significant frontal-sector interaction with one neighbor. A best-fit model with such interactions accounts well for observed group structure, whereas absence or alteration in any one of these rules fails to do so. We find that important features of observed flocking surf scoters can be accounted for by zonal models with specific, well-defined rules of interaction.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                November 15 2011
                November 15 2011
                November 07 2011
                November 15 2011
                : 108
                : 46
                : 18726-18731
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1109355108
                3219133
                22065759
                b2ec1268-08b7-4eb3-981c-c322cac5b54e
                © 2011
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