Collective response to perturbations in a data-driven fish school model

J R Soc Interface. 2015 Mar 6;12(104):20141362. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1362.


Fish schools are able to display a rich variety of collective states and behavioural responses when they are confronted by threats. However, a school's response to perturbations may be different depending on the nature of its collective state. Here we use a previously developed data-driven fish school model to investigate how the school responds to perturbations depending on its different collective states, we measure its susceptibility to such perturbations, and exploit its relation with the intrinsic fluctuations in the school. In particular, we study how a single or a small number of perturbing individuals whose attraction and alignment parameters are different from those of the main population affect the long-term behaviour of a school. We find that the responsiveness of the school to the perturbations is maximum near the transition region between milling and schooling states where the school exhibits multistability and regularly shifts between these two states. It is also in this region that the susceptibility, and hence the fluctuations, of the polarization order parameter is maximal. We also find that a significant school's response to a perturbation only happens below a certain threshold of the noise to social interactions ratio.

Keywords: collective behaviour; computational modelling; fish school model; self-organization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Anisotropy
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Computer Simulation
  • Environment
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Models, Biological
  • Social Behavior