Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Where does a flock end from an information perspective? A comparative experiment with live and robotic birds
by Kowalski, Victor, M.S., California State University, Long Beach, 2012, 56; 1522236
Abstract (Summary)

Theory assumes that transfer of social information about predators is immediate and accurate. However, animals space themselves at varying distances. Little is known about changes in the social information transfer function over distance and how it varies between species, which can affect group cohesion and the costs and benefits of sociality. My goal was to study the flow of social information in three bird species with different visual acuity (European starling, brown-headed cowbird, house finch). I used robotic birds to manipulate the availability of information by measuring the probability of live birds reacting to the flushing behavior of conspecific robots. Data show a non-linear decrease in information flow with increasing distance; however, this decrease was more pronounced in species with lower acuity. My findings suggest that benefits of social information flow are restricted to small neighbor distances and that larger species may have greater spatial domains of collective detection.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lowe, Chris
Commitee: Fernandez-Juricic, Esteban, Sinchak, Kevin
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Biological Sciences
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Biology, Robotics
Publication Number: 1522236
ISBN: 978-1-267-97730-4
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