Document Detail


Scale-free correlations in starling flocks.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20547832     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
From bird flocks to fish schools, animal groups often seem to react to environmental perturbations as if of one mind. Most studies in collective animal behavior have aimed to understand how a globally ordered state may emerge from simple behavioral rules. Less effort has been devoted to understanding the origin of collective response, namely the way the group as a whole reacts to its environment. Yet, in the presence of strong predatory pressure on the group, collective response may yield a significant adaptive advantage. Here we suggest that collective response in animal groups may be achieved through scale-free behavioral correlations. By reconstructing the 3D position and velocity of individual birds in large flocks of starlings, we measured to what extent the velocity fluctuations of different birds are correlated to each other. We found that the range of such spatial correlation does not have a constant value, but it scales with the linear size of the flock. This result indicates that behavioral correlations are scale free: The change in the behavioral state of one animal affects and is affected by that of all other animals in the group, no matter how large the group is. Scale-free correlations provide each animal with an effective perception range much larger than the direct interindividual interaction range, thus enhancing global response to perturbations. Our results suggest that flocks behave as critical systems, poised to respond maximally to environmental perturbations.
Authors:
Andrea Cavagna; Alessio Cimarelli; Irene Giardina; Giorgio Parisi; Raffaele Santagati; Fabio Stefanini; Massimiliano Viale
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2010-06-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  107     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2010 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-07-09     Completed Date:  2010-08-11     Revised Date:  2010-09-30    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  11865-70     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 00185 Rome, Italy. andrea.cavagna@roma1.infn.it
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Animal Migration / physiology
Animals
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Ecosystem
Female
Flight, Animal / physiology
Homing Behavior / physiology
Imaging, Three-Dimensional
Male
Models, Biological
Social Behavior*
Starlings / physiology*
Comments/Corrections

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