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Living in groups: Spatial-moment dynamics with neighbour-biased movements

Author:
Binny, Rachelle N., Law, Richard, Plank, Michael J.
Source:
Ecological modelling 2020 v.415 pp. 108825
ISSN:
0304-3800
Subject:
animals, herds, models
Abstract:
Herd formation in animal populations, for example to escape a predator or coordinate feeding, is a widespread phenomenon. Understanding which interactions between individual animals are important for generating such emergent self-organisation has been a key focus of ecological and mathematical research. Here we show the relationship between the algorithmic rules of herd-forming agents, and the mathematical structure of the corresponding spatial-moment dynamics. This entails scaling up from the rules of individual, herd-generating behaviour to the macroscopic dynamics of herd structure. The model employs a mechanism for neighbour-dependent, directionally-biased movement to explore how individual interactions generate aggregation and repulsion in groups of animals. Our results show that a combination of mutually attractive and repulsive interactions with different spatial scales is sufficient to lead to the stable formation of groups with a characteristic size.
Agid:
6755538