Initiators, Leaders, and Recruitment Mechanisms in the Collective Movements of Damselfish
2013-06, Ward, Ashley J. W., Herbert-Read, James E., Jordan, Alex, James, Richard, Krause, Jens, Ma, Qi, Rubenstein, Daniel I., Sumpter, David J. T., Morrell, Lesley J.
Explaining how individual behavior and social interactions give rise to group-level outcomes and affect issues such as leadership is fundamental to the understanding of collective behavior. Here we examined individual and collective behavioral dynamics in groups of humbug damselfish both before and during a collective movement. During the predeparture phase, group activity increased until the collective movement occurred. Although such movements were precipitated by one individual, the success or failure of any attempt to instigate a collective movement was not solely dependent on this initiator's behavior but on the behavior of the group as a whole. Specifically, groups were more active and less cohesive before a successful initiation attempt than before a failed attempt. Individuals who made the most attempts to initiate a collective movement during each trial were ultimately most likely to lead the collective movement. Leadership was not related to dominance but was consistent between trials. The probability of fish recruiting to a group movement initiative was an approximately linear function of the number of fish already recruited. Overall, these results are consistent with nonselective local mimetism, with the decision to leave based on a group's, rather than any particular individual's, readiness to leave.
Rising costs of care make spiny chromis discerning parents
2013-03, Jordan, Alex, Herbert-Read, James Edward, Ward, Ashley J. W.
Animals make use a range of social information to inform their movement decisions. One common movement rule, found across many different species, is that the probability that an individual moves to an area increases with the number of conspecifics there. However, in many cases, it remains unclear what social cues produce this and other similar movement rules. Here, we investigate what cues are used by damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus) when repeatedly crossing back and forth between two coral patches in an experimental arena. We find that an individual's decision to move is best predicted by the recent movements of conspecifics either to or from that individual's current habitat. Rather than actively seeking attachment to a larger group, individuals are instead prioritizing highly local and dynamic information with very limited spatial and temporal ranges. By reanalysing data in which the same species crossed for the first time to a new coral patch, we show that the individuals use static cues in this case. This suggests that these fish alter their information usage according to the structure and familiarity of their environment by using stable information when moving to a novel area and localized dynamic information when moving between familiar areas.
Group structure in a restricted entry system is mediated by both resident and joiner preferences
2010-07, Jordan, Alex, Avolio, Carla, Herbert-Read, James E., Krause, Jens, Rubenstein, Daniel I., Ward, Ashley J. W.
The benefits of grouping behaviour may not be equally distributed across all individuals within a group, leading to conflict over group membership among established group members, and between residents and outsiders attempting to join a group. Although the interaction between the preferences of joining individuals and existing group members may exert considerable pressure on group structure, empirical work on group living to date has focussed on free entry groups, in which all individuals are permitted entry. Using the humbug damselfish, Dascyllus aruanus, we examined a restricted entry grouping system, in which group residents control membership by aggressively rejecting potential new members. We found that the preferences shown by joining members were not always aligned with strategies that incurred the least harm from resident group members, suggesting a conflict between the preferences of residents and preferences of group joiners. Solitary fish preferred to join familiar groups and groups of size-matched residents. Residents were less aggressive towards familiar group joiners. However, resident aggression towards unfamiliar individuals depended on the size of the joining individual, the size of the resident and the composition of the group. These results demonstrate that animal group structure is mediated by both the preferences of joining individuals and the preferences of residents.