I am excited to have been awarded a Zukunftskolleg Mentorship grant to continue my collaboration with Shaun Killen. Shaun and I started working together last year to unravel the fundamental mechanisms of individual traits in the collective behaviour of animal groups. Besides setting-up some new experiments on fish physiology, personality and collective behaviour, we are writing an opinion paper on this important topic.
Selin Ersoy has joined the lab for a research internship on predator-prey dynamics and collective behaviour. Selin spent a year in the Kalahari and just finished her masters, during which she studied social network dynamics in ravens. The coming months she will help running an exciting new project using the pike-stickleback system I have been setting-up here at Konstanz. ∞
My latest paper on the collective behaviour of stickleback shoals is out today in the journal Current Biology!
Jolles, JW, Boogert, NJ, Sridhar, VH, Couzin, ID, Manica, A. (2017) Consistent individual differences drive collective behaviour and group functioning of schooling fish. Current Biology 27: 1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.08.004 (link).
New research sheds light on how “animal personalities” – inter-individual differences in animal behaviour – can drive the collective behaviour and functioning of animal groups such as schools of fish, including their cohesion, leadership, movement dynamics, and group performance. These research findings from the University of Konstanz, the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology and the University of Cambridge provide important new insights that could help explain and predict the emergence of complex collective behavioural patterns across social and ecological scales, with implications for conservation and fisheries and potentially creating bio-inspired robot swarms. It may even help us understand human society and team performance. The study is published in the 7 September 2017 issue of Current Biology.
During the lab meeting today Lauren gave a great final presentation today of her Masters project on the effects of the group personality composition on group learning ability in three-spined sticklebacks. Looking forward to her MSc thesis in a month’s time!
This week I visited Shaun Killen in Glasgow and gave a seminar at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine. Three stimulating days with lots of productive discussion and research ideas for collaboration on the relationship between physiology, personality differences and collective behaviour. Really great to meet the Killen lab and drink some proper Ales and Whiskeys. Thanks to Shaun for hosting me!
Observations of schooling Mediterranean barbel
Last week I was in Catalunya visiting friends and family and some undistracted paper writing. Catalunya, where my wife grew up, is an amazing place and feels like a second home to me. With the Mediterranean sea and the Pyrenean mountains within half an hour’s drive, there is always a lot to explore.
During some recent trips, I went hiking in the Pyrenean foothills and discovered schools of Mediterranean barbel (Barbus meridionalis). They seemed to be separate populations living in semi-isolated pools of a small mountain river. This species of Barbus is only native to a small area in and around the Eastern Pyrenees. Sadly, in recent years its numbers have plummeted with 30% (source: IUCN), highlighting an urgent need to better understand their ecology and vulnerabilities.
Yesterday our research at the Department of Collective Behaviour was featured in a half hour show on the German television: “Schwarmverhalten – Die Intelligenz der Vielen“. You can see the full program below or at this link. My postdoc supervisor Iain Couzin is featured from 01:18 and I make my appearance at 06:44.
Fische, Ameisen, Heuschrecken: Schwärme verhalten sich schlau, ohne, dass die einzelnen Tiere besonders intelligent sind. Der Schwarm ist die Intelligenz der Vielen. Können Menschen auch Schwarmverhalten nutzen – und Roboter?
This year I did my best to give back to the academic community and peer reviewed 10+ papers for a range of journals, including Behavioral Ecology, Scientific Reports, and Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology. ∞
Today I gave a one hour lecture for the Masters Course ‘Collective Behaviour’, here at the University of Konstanz, where I talked about the role of individual differences in the behaviour of animal groups. ∞
Today I submitted a grant application for an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, entitled The ecological and evolutionary implications of individual differences in collective behaviour. The goal of the proposed project is to develop an interdisciplinary research program to investigate the link between consistent behavioural variation, the emergence of collective properties, group functioning, and ultimately individual fitness and between-group dynamics. I am very excited about this project and have started to lay the foundations for it here in Konstanz. Now 10 months wait ahead!
Having a great week so far at the ISBE conference in Exeter this year. Really great collection of talks and nice to see a lot of colleagues and friends again. Today I gave a presentation about my recent work on personality differences and collective behaviour in sticklebacks. ∞
With my Viva behind me I have officially completed my PhD! Feels great to be Dr JW Jolles!
I was invited to give a guest lecture for a third year module at Bangor University. Was great discussing research ideas with Katherine Jones, visiting the University and fish labs, and walking through the Llanberis pass on my way back! ∞
After three years I have completed my PhD thesis and just handed it in! It feels strange to finally have the product in my hands of so much work over the years. ∞