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Despite the growing interest in collective phenomena such as "swarm intelligence" and "wisdom of the crowds," little is known about the mechanisms underlying decision-making in vertebrate animal groups. How do animals use the behavior of others to make more accurate decisions, especially when it is not possible to identify which individuals possess(More)
Although it has been suggested that large animal groups should make better decisions than smaller groups, there are few empirical demonstrations of this phenomenon and still fewer explanations of the how these improvements may be made. Here we show that both speed and accuracy of decision making increase with group size in fish shoals under predation(More)
Observations were made on three fish species (banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus), golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas) and white sucker (Catostomus commersoni)) in a temperate lake (New Brunswick, Canada) in order to investigate the relationship between shoal choice behaviour of individual fishes and shoal composition. Encounters between shoals were(More)
The social environment can exert a powerful influence on the expression of an individual’s behaviour patterns. For example, social facilitation occurs where individuals are more likely to express a given behaviour, or express it a greater rate, in the presence of conspecifics. Social facilitation is partly driven by an individual’s perception of risk, which(More)
Collective animal behaviour has attracted much attention recently, but cause-and-effect within interaction sequences has often been difficult to establish. To tackle this problem, we constructed a robotic fish ('Robofish') with which three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.) interact. Robofish is a computer-controlled replica stickleback that(More)
How different levels of biological organization interact to shape each other's function is a central question in biology. One particularly important topic in this context is how individuals' variation in behaviour shapes group-level characteristics. We investigated how fish that express different locomotory behaviour in an asocial context move collectively(More)
The exceptional reactivity of animal collectives to predatory attacks is thought to be owing to rapid, but local, transfer of information between group members. These groups turn together in unison and produce escape waves. However, it is not clear how escape waves are created from local interactions, nor is it understood how these patterns are shaped by(More)
The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is now established as one of the pre-eminent model vertebrate study animals in biology, providing an excellent opportunity to integrate the fields of genetics and behavioral ecology. Considerable attention has been paid to the social organization of animals and the study of zebrafish in this context allows behavioral geneticists(More)
Decisions reached through consensus are often more accurate, because they efficiently utilize the diverse information possessed by group members [1-3]. A trust in consensus decision making underlies many of our democratic political and judicial institutions [4], as well as the design of web tools such as Google, Wikipedia, and prediction markets [5, 6]. In(More)
The mechanisms underpinning the structure of social networks in multiple fish populations were investigated. To our knowledge this is the first study to provide replication of social networks and therefore probably the first that allows general conclusions to be drawn. The social networks were all found to have a non-random structure and exhibited 'social(More)