Behavioural ecology and swarm intelligence

Shoals of fish often achieve things that individual specimens are unable to do. It is easier for fish to find food, to recognise enemies quickly, and to reproduce more successfully in a shoal. In the case of humans, too, decisions taken collectively often turn out to be better than those made by individuals. For this reason, social networks and collective decision processes are not only interesting for ecology, but also for decision management in politics, medicine or the economy. In these systems, principles such as competition, organisation, cooperation and resource management play an important role. For this reason, at IGB we explore how decision processes can be improved. For example, we use knowledge of the swarm behaviour of fish to derive models for the dynamics and organisation of groups of people.

Related News

short news

Invasion is independent of personality

Researchers from IGB and the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig studied guppies to investigate the linkage between behavioural types and dispersal tendencies – important for understanding biological invasions.
press release

You want to be a leader? You’ve got to be fast!

David Bierbach and Jens Krause show that animals’ speed is fundamental for collective behavioral patterns, and that ultimately it is the faster individuals that have the strongest influence on group-level behavior. 
short news

Lemon sharks – live fast, die young

Risk-taking individuals are expected to grow better but also die faster than the less explorative individuals, according to the hypothesis that Félicie Dhellemmes and Jens Krause have tested.

Selected publications

December 2020
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London : Ser. B, Biological Sciences. - 287(2020)1938, art. 20201158

Parasite infection disrupts escape behaviours in fish shoals

Nicolle Demandt; Marit Praetz; Ralf H. J. M. Kurvers; Jens Krause; Joachim Kurtz and Jörn P. Scharsack

The authors show that three-spined stickleback infected with tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus can disrupt the transmission of flight responses within a shoal, thereby not only increasing their own predation risk but also that of their uninfected shoal members. The study uncovers a potentially far-reaching fitness consequence of grouping with infected individuals.

Related Projects

The Evolution of Collective Intelligence: A Comparative Approach

Groups of decision makers can integrate their independent informational states and outperform individuals (collective intelligence). However, the extent to which collective intelligence has been shaped by natural selection in response to ecological challenges is largely unknown.
Contact person
Matthew James Hansen
Jens Krause
Department
(Dept. 4) Biology and Ecology of Fishes
Start
11/2018
End
11/2020
Topic

Developing exploration behaviour

We here address one of the arguably most fundamental questions associated with exploration behaviour in biological systems: how do behavioural-experiential trajectories dynamically unfold in newly born organisms? That is, when being confronted with an unknown environment, what are the exact sequences of exploration behaviours and associated experiences that real-world organisms go through, from day 1 of their life?
Contact person
Max Wolf
Jens Krause
Department
(Dept. 4) Biology and Ecology of Fishes
Start
08/2020
End
07/2023
Topic

Related Events

11. Mar
11 March 2021
colloquium

Giulia Ghedini

How does competition alter the energy use of organisms and what are the consequences for community functioning?

Experts at IGB

David Bierbach

Guest Scientist
Research group
Mechanisms and Functions of Group-Living
Behavioural Biology

Jens Krause

Head of Department
Research group
Mechanisms and Functions of Group-Living

Ralf Kurvers

Guest Scientist
Research group
Behavioural Biology

Max Wolf

Research Group Leader
Research group
Behavioural Biology

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