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Noise-induced schooling of fish

Jhawar, J and Morris, RG and Amith-Kumar, UR and Danny Raj, M and Rogers, T and Rajendran, H and Guttal, V (2020) Noise-induced schooling of fish. In: Nature Physics, 16 (4). pp. 488-493.

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41567-020-0787-y


We report on the dynamics of collective alignment in groups of the cichlid fish Etroplus suratensis. Focusing on small- to intermediate-sized groups (10 � N � 100), we demonstrate that schooling (highly polarized and coherent motion) is noise induced, arising from the intrinsic stochasticity associated with finite numbers of interacting fish. The fewer the fish, the greater the (multiplicative) noise and therefore the greater the likelihood of alignment. Such rare empirical evidence tightly constrains the possible underlying interactions that govern fish alignment, suggesting that E. suratensis either spontaneously change their direction or copy the direction of another fish, without any local averaging (the otherwise canonical mechanism of collective alignment). Our study therefore highlights the importance of stochasticity in behavioural inference. Furthermore, rather than simply obscuring otherwise deterministic dynamics, noise can be fundamental to the characterization of emergent collective behaviours.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Nature Physics
Additional Information: The copyright of this article belongs to NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
Keywords: Alignment, Coherent motion; Collective behaviour; Finite number; Local averaging; Stochasticity, Fish
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Division of Mechanical Sciences > Chemical Engineering
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2020 06:32
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2020 06:32
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/64988

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