On aims and methods of collective animal behaviour

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2024
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Marshall, James A.R.
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European Union (EU): 647704
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Animal Behaviour. Elsevier. 2024, 210, pp. 189-197. ISSN 0003-3472. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2024.01.024
Zusammenfassung

Collective animal behaviour is a subfield of behavioural ecology, making extensive use of its tools of observation, experimental manipulation and model building. However, a fundamental behavioural ecology approach, the application of optimality theory, has been comparatively neglected in collective animal behaviour. This article seeks to address this imbalance, by outlining an evolutionary theory framework for the discipline. The application of optimality theory to collective animal behaviour requires a number of questions to be addressed. First, what is the correct quantity to optimize? This can be achieved via a combination of considering the organisms' life history, alongside tools such as statistical decision theory and stochastic dynamic programming. Second, what mechanism is appropriate for optimal behaviour? This involves ensuring that models are self-consistent rather than assuming parameter values. Third, at what level of selection does optimization act? Selection acts on the individual except in very particular circumstances, yet collective animal behaviour phenomena are group level, thus introducing a risk of confusing at what level adaptive properties emerge. This article presents examples under each of the three questions, as well as discussing mismatches between theory and observation. In doing so, it is hoped that collective animal behaviour fully inherits the tools and philosophy of its parent discipline of behavioural ecology.

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behavioural mechanism, level of selection, optimality theory, self-consistency, statistical decision theory, stochastic dynamic programming
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ISO 690MARSHALL, James A.R., Andreagiovanni REINA, 2024. On aims and methods of collective animal behaviour. In: Animal Behaviour. Elsevier. 2024, 210, pp. 189-197. ISSN 0003-3472. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2024.01.024
BibTex
@article{Marshall2024-04metho-69833,
  year={2024},
  doi={10.1016/j.anbehav.2024.01.024},
  title={On aims and methods of collective animal behaviour},
  volume={210},
  issn={0003-3472},
  journal={Animal Behaviour},
  pages={189--197},
  author={Marshall, James A.R. and Reina, Andreagiovanni}
}
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