Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Leading the pack in following the herd

23.02.2005


A few in the know can lead the many, according to new research into travelling animal groups carried out by the universities of Leeds and Oxford. Crowds of Leeds biology undergraduates will be observed to test their theory later this year.



Large groups of animals such as bees, fish, sheep and birds have to make collective decisions about which direction to take, although only a few individuals know the route. Some animals use signals to communicate, such as the honeybee’s famous ‘waggle-dance’. But such signals don’t work in large groups because individuals can only see the animals closest to them.

Leeds professor in behavioural ecology Jens Krause and Oxford biologist Dr Iain Couzin created a computer model based on observations of animals to show how information is shared. They looked at groups which don’t use signalling or have a leader. The model revealed that the larger the group, the smaller the proportion of informed animals needed to guide it, and only a small proportion of animals in the know is needed for accuracy. Animals are capable of agreeing which way to go when informed individuals in the group have different preferences about which way to travel, even though these individuals don’t know if they are in the majority or minority.


Professor Krause said: “We want to go on now and look at what happens when there is conflict in the group and we’ll be testing it using fish – sticklebacks and guppies – and undergraduate students at Leeds.

"We’ll look at how information transmission takes place in human crowds when it comes to choosing a direction, particularly if there are differences in the group, and how these conflicts are settled.” Their work was published in Nature this month.

Hannah Love | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nature.com
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus
22.05.2017 | University of Toronto

nachricht Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs
19.05.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>