Diffusion and topological neighbours in flocks of starlings: relating a model to empirical data

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12 Citaten (Scopus)
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Moving in a group while avoiding collisions with group members causes internal dynamics in the group. Although these dynamics have recently been measured quantitatively in starling flocks (Sturnus vulgaris), it is unknown what causes them. Computational models have shown that collective motion in groups is likely due to attraction, avoidance and, possibly, alignment among group members. Empirical studies show that starlings adjust their movement to a fixed number of closest neighbours or topological range, namely 6 or 7 and assume that each of the three activities is done with the same number of neighbours (topological range). Here, we start from the hypothesis that escape behavior is more effective at preventing collisions in a flock when avoiding the single closest neighbor than compromising by avoiding 6 or 7 of them. For alignment and attraction, we keep to the empirical topological range. We investigate how avoiding one or several neighbours affects the internal dynamics of flocks of starlings in our computational model StarDisplay. By comparing to empirical data, we confirm that internal dynamics resemble empirical data more closely if flock members avoid merely their single, closest neighbor. Our model shows that considering a different number of interaction partners per activity represents a useful perspective and that changing a single parameter, namely the number of interaction partners that are avoided, has several effects through selforganisation.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's12
TijdschriftPLoS ONE
Nummer van het tijdschrift5
StatusPublished - 18-mei-2015

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