Simultaneous use of different communication mechanisms leads to spatial sorting and unexpected collective behaviours in animal groups

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    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Communication among individuals forms the basis of social interactions in every animal population. In general, communication is influenced by the physiological and psychological constraints of each individual, and in large aggregations this means differences in the reception and emission of communication signals. However, studies on the formation and movement of animal aggregations usually assume that all individuals communicate with neighbours in the same manner. Here, we take a new approach on animal aggregations and use a nonlocal mathematical model to investigate theoretically the simultaneous use of two communication mechanisms by different members of a population. We show that the use of multiple communication mechanisms can lead to behaviours that are not necessarily predicted by the behaviour of subpopulations that use only one communication mechanism. In particular, we show that while the use of one communication mechanism by the entire population leads to deterministic movement, the use of multiple communication mechanisms can lead in some cases to chaotic movement. Finally, we show that the use of multiple communication mechanisms leads to the sorting of individuals inside aggregations: individuals that are aware of the location and the movement direction of all their neighbours usually position themselves at the centre of the groups, while individuals that are aware of the location and the movement direction of only some neighbours position themselves at the edges of the groups.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)42-53
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
    Volume337
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2013

    Keywords

    • self-organised aggregations
    • hyperbolic system
    • animal communication
    • self-sorting
    • chaotic movement

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