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.
Modern genetic sequencing tools give clearer picture of how corals are related
17.08.2017 | University of Washington
The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
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17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy