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).
Highly coordinated school of three-spined sticklebacks swimming in the blue waters of the Bodensee near Konstanz, Southern Germany. Photo: Jolle W. Jolles
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.
Our latest paper Recent social conditions affect boldness repeatability in individual sticklebacks, is now out online in Animal Behaviour (Open Access!). You can download the pdf here. ∞
Our paper “Recent social conditions affect boldness repeatability in individual sticklebacks” shows that recent experience of a social group had carry-over effects and reduced behavioural repeatability when individuals were alone and that two days of social isolation improved boldness repeatability of individual sticklebacks. ∞
Leadership behaviour is affected by social experiences from previous partners and depends on an individual’s personality, as shown by our latest study with three-spined stickleback fish, now published in Behavioral Ecology.
From the political affairs we see on the news, to making decisions with your friends, leadership is all around us. But next to humans, leaders and followers can also be found in many group-living animals, such as fish, birds, and primates.
Social animals may receive benefits from grouping such as protection from predators and help in finding food. But to ensure individuals reap the benefits of grouping, they must time and coordinate their behaviour with the emergence of potential leaders and followers as a result.
I am always looking for possibilities to combine my research interests with music, art or design. Luckily a couple months ago my two friends Jens Bouttery and Daan Milius, professional musician/composer and film makers, asked me to collaborate on a musical performance to explore the boundaries of music, science and art called “Triggers and Tresholds“.
We have had a couple very fruitful weekends in Cambridge during which we some great discussions about science and music and they filmed a couple shorts for the performance later this year. After their last visit here and seeing the sticklebacks and my research in my basement lab in Cambridge, Jens got very creative and within a day wrote a fantastic song about my research on animal personality! Listen to it below:
It is great to work together with good friends and see how my research is translated in such a creative way!
Everyone knows that our personality plays a large role in daily life, from our need for adventure and our desire to hang out with friends, to our discipline in work and our compassion with others. But when we talk about personalities in animals, or non-human animals as I like to say, many may feel it is different. Although most people use personality related terms when talking about our pets, the majority of people may still believe personality is a uniquely human characteristic. The interesting thing is, personalities exist throughout the animal kingdom!
Until about ten years ago researchers talked about the behaviour of animals in general terms, ignoring the behavioural variation between individuals because it was considered ‘noise around the mean’. However, during the last ten years, more and more researches have shown that personalities exist in a wide range of species. From birds to bees, all species so far investigated show that individuals often behave very different from one another and do so consistently throughout their lives in a similar way like we do ourselves. For example, some individuals might be bolder or more aggressive while others are more sociable and tend to follow others.
This year I presented my work on social attraction and boldness on sticklebacks at the Easter ASAB conference in Sheffield and won the prize for Best Poster (£100)!. You can see the full poster by clicking on the image below: