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Collective decision making and social interaction rules in mixed-species flocks of songbirds.

Farine DR, Aplin LM, Garroway CJ, Mann RP, Sheldon BC - Anim Behav (2014)

Bottom Line: We found that species differed in their response to the distribution of conspecifics and heterospecifics across foraging patches.However, simulating decisions using the different rules, which reproduced our data well, suggested that the outcome of using different decision rules by each species resulted in qualitatively similar overall patterns of movement.This is likely to be important for maintaining coordinated behaviour across species, and to result in quick and adaptive flock responses to food resources that are patchily distributed in space and time.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, Department of Zoology, Oxford, U.K. ; Department of Anthropology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, U.S.A. ; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Ancon, Panama.

ABSTRACT
Associations in mixed-species foraging groups are common in animals, yet have rarely been explored in the context of collective behaviour. Despite many investigations into the social and ecological conditions under which individuals should form groups, we still know little about the specific behavioural rules that individuals adopt in these contexts, or whether these can be generalized to heterospecifics. Here, we studied collective behaviour in flocks in a community of five species of woodland passerine birds. We adopted an automated data collection protocol, involving visits by RFID-tagged birds to feeding stations equipped with antennae, over two winters, recording 91 576 feeding events by 1904 individuals. We demonstrated highly synchronized feeding behaviour within patches, with birds moving towards areas of the patch with the largest proportion of the flock. Using a model of collective decision making, we then explored the underlying decision rule birds may be using when foraging in mixed-species flocks. The model tested whether birds used a different decision rule for conspecifics and heterospecifics, and whether the rules used by individuals of different species varied. We found that species differed in their response to the distribution of conspecifics and heterospecifics across foraging patches. However, simulating decisions using the different rules, which reproduced our data well, suggested that the outcome of using different decision rules by each species resulted in qualitatively similar overall patterns of movement. It is possible that the decision rules each species uses may be adjusted to variation in mean species abundance in order for individuals to maintain the same overall flock-level response. This is likely to be important for maintaining coordinated behaviour across species, and to result in quick and adaptive flock responses to food resources that are patchily distributed in space and time.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Within-patch movements with respect to distribution of birds across the four feeders for day 1 only. Circles represent observed probability of moving given the proportion of individuals at the feeder when (a) leaving and (b) arriving. Feeder densities (proportions) were calculated using the number of birds present at each feeder divided by the number present in the whole patch. The shaded envelopes are the maximal variability range from 1000 jackknife estimations with 40% of the original data removed. The horizontal and vertical dashed lines represent mean/random expected density on each feeder (0.25) in the absence of any collective behaviour. The solid black lines indicate the density-dependent expectation of the theoretical asocial prediction (TASP). Values above each plot give the sample size (n departures or arrivals) for each data point below it.
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undfig3: Within-patch movements with respect to distribution of birds across the four feeders for day 1 only. Circles represent observed probability of moving given the proportion of individuals at the feeder when (a) leaving and (b) arriving. Feeder densities (proportions) were calculated using the number of birds present at each feeder divided by the number present in the whole patch. The shaded envelopes are the maximal variability range from 1000 jackknife estimations with 40% of the original data removed. The horizontal and vertical dashed lines represent mean/random expected density on each feeder (0.25) in the absence of any collective behaviour. The solid black lines indicate the density-dependent expectation of the theoretical asocial prediction (TASP). Values above each plot give the sample size (n departures or arrivals) for each data point below it.


Collective decision making and social interaction rules in mixed-species flocks of songbirds.

Farine DR, Aplin LM, Garroway CJ, Mann RP, Sheldon BC - Anim Behav (2014)

Within-patch movements with respect to distribution of birds across the four feeders for day 1 only. Circles represent observed probability of moving given the proportion of individuals at the feeder when (a) leaving and (b) arriving. Feeder densities (proportions) were calculated using the number of birds present at each feeder divided by the number present in the whole patch. The shaded envelopes are the maximal variability range from 1000 jackknife estimations with 40% of the original data removed. The horizontal and vertical dashed lines represent mean/random expected density on each feeder (0.25) in the absence of any collective behaviour. The solid black lines indicate the density-dependent expectation of the theoretical asocial prediction (TASP). Values above each plot give the sample size (n departures or arrivals) for each data point below it.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4157325&req=5

undfig3: Within-patch movements with respect to distribution of birds across the four feeders for day 1 only. Circles represent observed probability of moving given the proportion of individuals at the feeder when (a) leaving and (b) arriving. Feeder densities (proportions) were calculated using the number of birds present at each feeder divided by the number present in the whole patch. The shaded envelopes are the maximal variability range from 1000 jackknife estimations with 40% of the original data removed. The horizontal and vertical dashed lines represent mean/random expected density on each feeder (0.25) in the absence of any collective behaviour. The solid black lines indicate the density-dependent expectation of the theoretical asocial prediction (TASP). Values above each plot give the sample size (n departures or arrivals) for each data point below it.
Bottom Line: We found that species differed in their response to the distribution of conspecifics and heterospecifics across foraging patches.However, simulating decisions using the different rules, which reproduced our data well, suggested that the outcome of using different decision rules by each species resulted in qualitatively similar overall patterns of movement.This is likely to be important for maintaining coordinated behaviour across species, and to result in quick and adaptive flock responses to food resources that are patchily distributed in space and time.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, Department of Zoology, Oxford, U.K. ; Department of Anthropology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, U.S.A. ; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Ancon, Panama.

ABSTRACT
Associations in mixed-species foraging groups are common in animals, yet have rarely been explored in the context of collective behaviour. Despite many investigations into the social and ecological conditions under which individuals should form groups, we still know little about the specific behavioural rules that individuals adopt in these contexts, or whether these can be generalized to heterospecifics. Here, we studied collective behaviour in flocks in a community of five species of woodland passerine birds. We adopted an automated data collection protocol, involving visits by RFID-tagged birds to feeding stations equipped with antennae, over two winters, recording 91 576 feeding events by 1904 individuals. We demonstrated highly synchronized feeding behaviour within patches, with birds moving towards areas of the patch with the largest proportion of the flock. Using a model of collective decision making, we then explored the underlying decision rule birds may be using when foraging in mixed-species flocks. The model tested whether birds used a different decision rule for conspecifics and heterospecifics, and whether the rules used by individuals of different species varied. We found that species differed in their response to the distribution of conspecifics and heterospecifics across foraging patches. However, simulating decisions using the different rules, which reproduced our data well, suggested that the outcome of using different decision rules by each species resulted in qualitatively similar overall patterns of movement. It is possible that the decision rules each species uses may be adjusted to variation in mean species abundance in order for individuals to maintain the same overall flock-level response. This is likely to be important for maintaining coordinated behaviour across species, and to result in quick and adaptive flock responses to food resources that are patchily distributed in space and time.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus