Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Understanding behavioral patterns: Why bird flocks move in unison

Date:
September 16, 2010
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
Animal flocks, be it honeybees, fish, ants or birds, often move in surprising synchronicity and seemingly make unanimous decisions at a moment's notice, a phenomenon which has remained puzzling to many researchers.

Flock of sea gulls flying. Animal flocks, be it honeybees, fish, ants or birds, often move in surprising synchronicity and seemingly make unanimous decisions at a moment's notice, a phenomenon which has remained puzzling to many researchers.
Credit: iStockphoto

Animal flocks, be it honeybees, fish, ants or birds, often move in surprising synchronicity and seemingly make unanimous decisions at a moment's notice, a phenomenon which has remained puzzling to many researchers.

Related Articles


New research published September 15, in New Journal of Physics, uses a particle model to explain the collective decision making process of flocks of birds landing on foraging flights.

Using a simple self-propelled particle (SPP) system, which sees the birds represented by particles with such parameters as position and velocity, the researchers from Budapest, Hungary, find that the collective switching from the flying to the landing state overrides the individual landing intentions of each bird.

In the absence of a decision making leader, the collective shift to land is heavily influenced by perturbations the individual birds are subject to, such as the birds' flying position within the flock. This can be compared to an avalanche of piled up sand, which would occur even for perfectly symmetric and cautiously placed grains, but in reality happens much sooner because of increasing, non-linear fluctuations.

As the researchers explain, "Our main motivation was to better understand something which is puzzling and out there in nature, especially in cases involving the stopping or starting of a collective behavioural pattern in a group of people or animals.

"We propose a simple model for a system whose members have the tendency to follow the others both in space and in their state of mind concerning a decision about stopping an activity. This is a very general model, which can be applied to similar situations."

Possible applications include collectively flying, unmanned aerial vehicles, initiating a desired motion pattern in crowds or groups of animals and even finance, where the results could be used to interpret collective effects on selling or buying shares on the stock market.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K Bhattacharya, Tamαs Vicsek. Collective decision making in cohesive flocks. New Journal of Physics, 2010; 12 (9): 093019 DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/12/9/093019

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Understanding behavioral patterns: Why bird flocks move in unison." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100915080439.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2010, September 16). Understanding behavioral patterns: Why bird flocks move in unison. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100915080439.htm
Institute of Physics. "Understanding behavioral patterns: Why bird flocks move in unison." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100915080439.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) — Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins