On the duality between interaction responses and mutual positions in flocking and schooling

Andrea Perna, Guillaume Grégoire, Richard P Mann

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Recent research in animal behaviour has contributed to determine how alignment, turning responses, and changes of speed mediate flocking and schooling interactions in different animal species. Here, we propose a complementary approach to the analysis of flocking phenomena, based on the idea that animals occupy preferential, anysotropic positions with respect to their neighbours, and devote a large amount of their interaction responses to maintaining their mutual positions. We test our approach by deriving the apparent alignment and attraction responses from simulated trajectories of animals moving side by side, or one in front of the other. We show that the anisotropic positioning of individuals, in combination with noise, is sufficient to reproduce several aspects of the movement responses observed in real animal groups. This anisotropy at the level of interactions should be considered explicitly in future models of flocking and schooling. By making a distinction between interaction responses involved in maintaining a preferred flock configuration, and interaction responses directed at changing it, our work provides a frame to discriminate movement interactions that signal directional conflict from interactions underlying consensual group motion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages1
JournalMovement ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2014

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