Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From fish schools to primate societies: The dynamics of collective movement in animal groups
by Strandburg-Peshkin, Ariana, Ph.D., Princeton University, 2016, 191; 10194675
Abstract (Summary)

Animals that live in groups face a dual challenge of effectively exploiting their environment while at the same time maintaining cohesion with other group members. Maintaining cohesion requires group members to come to consensus about when and where to move, despite the fact that they may not always agree. In this thesis, I investigate how individuals in groups make movement decisions, and how these individual decisions scale up to group-level properties. Using a laboratory experiment with golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas ), I first investigate the interaction network over which information spreads, finding that decisions are better predicted by whom individuals can see rather than whom they are close to, with potential consequences for the global spread of information (Chapter 2). I then investigate collective movement behavior in the wild using high-resolution GPS data from members of a troop of olive baboons (Papio anubis). I first show that baboons are consistent in the spatial positions they occupy within the group, and that the observed patterns may be understood based on a very simple mechanism by which individuals maintain cohesion with different numbers of their neighbors (Chapter 3). By quantifying how group members move relative to one another, I then show that baboon movement decisions are consistent with a shared decision-making process, rather than despotic leadership by dominant individuals, and that the patterns of decision-making are consistent with simple models of collective motion (Chapter 4). Finally, by incorporating a fine-scale, three-dimensional reconstruction of the habitat through which the baboons move, I show that habitat structure, in addition to social factors, also exerts an important influence on individual movement decisions, resulting in changes in the emergent structure and movement of the group (Chapter 5). Taken together, these results highlight that by combining high-resolution animal tracking, remote sensing, and analytical methods, we can begin to extend our understanding of collective animal movement from laboratory studies to complex animal societies living in the wild.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Couzin, Iain D.
Commitee: Leonard, Naomi E., Levin, Simon A., Niv, Yael
School: Princeton University
Department: Quantitative Computational Biology
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-B 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Biology, Ecology, Zoology
Keywords: Animal behavior, Collective behavior, Decision-making, Leadership, Movement, Self-organization
Publication Number: 10194675
ISBN: 978-1-369-37765-1
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