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  • 1
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    Unknown
    Royal Society
    Publication Date: 2017-01-06
    Description: Identifying leader–follower interactions is crucial for understanding how a group decides where or when to move, and how this information is transferred between members. Although many animal groups have a three-dimensional structure, previous studies investigating leader–follower interactions have often ignored vertical information. This raises the question of whether commonly used two-dimensional leader–follower analyses can be used justifiably on groups that interact in three dimensions. To address this, we quantified the individual movements of banded tetra fish ( Astyanax mexicanus ) within shoals by computing the three-dimensional trajectories of all individuals using a stereo-camera technique. We used these data firstly to identify and compare leader–follower interactions in two and three dimensions, and secondly to analyse leadership with respect to an individual's spatial position in three dimensions. We show that for 95% of all pairwise interactions leadership identified through two-dimensional analysis matches that identified through three-dimensional analysis, and we reveal that fish attend to the same shoalmates for vertical information as they do for horizontal information. Our results therefore highlight that three-dimensional analyses are not always required to identify leader–follower relationships in species that move freely in three dimensions. We discuss our results in terms of the importance of taking species' sensory capacities into account when studying interaction networks within groups.
    Keywords: behaviour
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 2
    facet.materialart.
    Unknown
    Royal Society
    Publication Date: 2017-03-30
    Description: Our understanding of animal flight benefits greatly from specialized wind tunnels designed for flying animals. Existing facilities can simulate laminar flow during straight, ascending and descending flight, as well as at different altitudes. However, the atmosphere in which animals fly is even more complex. Flow can be laminar and quiet at high altitudes but highly turbulent near the ground, and gusts can rapidly change wind speed. To study flight in both laminar and turbulent environments, a multi-purpose wind tunnel for studying animal and small vehicle flight was built at Stanford University. The tunnel is closed-circuit and can produce airspeeds up to 50 m s –1 in a rectangular test section that is 1.0 m wide, 0.82 m tall and 1.73 m long. Seamless honeycomb and screens in the airline together with a carefully designed contraction reduce centreline turbulence intensities to less than or equal to 0.030% at all operating speeds. A large diameter fan and specialized acoustic treatment allow the tunnel to operate at low noise levels of 76.4 dB at 20 m s –1 . To simulate high turbulence, an active turbulence grid can increase turbulence intensities up to 45%. Finally, an open jet configuration enables stereo high-speed fluoroscopy for studying musculoskeletal control in turbulent flow.
    Keywords: mechanical engineering, biomechanics, biomimetics
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 3
    facet.materialart.
    Unknown
    Royal Society
    Publication Date: 2016-11-11
    Description: Alloparenting, when individuals other than the mother assist with infant care, can vary between and within populations and has potential fitness costs and benefits for individuals involved. We investigated the effects of alloparenting on the speed with which infants were weaned, a potential component of maternal fitness because of how it can affect inter-birth intervals, in wild chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii ) at Ngogo, Uganda. We also provide, to our knowledge, the first description of alloparenting in this population and present a novel measure of the contribution of milk to infant diets through faecal stable nitrogen isotopes ( 15 N). Using 42 mother–infant pairs, we tested associations of two alloparenting dimensions, natal attraction (interest in infants) and infant handling (holding, carrying), to the proportion of time mothers spent feeding and to maternal lactation effort (mean nursing rates and mother–infant 15 N differences). Neither natal attraction nor infant handling was significantly associated with feeding time. Infant handling was inversely associated with both measures of lactation effort, although natal attraction showed no association. Alloparenting may benefit mothers by enabling females to invest in their next offspring sooner through accelerated weaning. Our findings emphasize the significance of alloparenting as a flexible component of female reproductive strategies in some species.
    Keywords: behaviour, ecology, evolution
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 4
    facet.materialart.
    Unknown
    Royal Society
    Publication Date: 2016-01-30
    Description: In societies that make collective decisions through leadership, a fundamental question concerns the individual attributes that allow certain group members to assume leadership roles over others. Homing pigeons form transitive leadership hierarchies during flock flights, where flock members are ranked according to the average time differences with which they lead or follow others' movement. Here, we test systematically whether leadership ranks in navigational hierarchies are correlated with prior experience of a homing task. We constructed experimental flocks of pigeons with mixed navigational experience: half of the birds within each flock had been familiarized with a specific release site through multiple previous releases, while the other half had never been released from the same site. We measured the birds' hierarchical leadership ranks, then switched the same birds' roles at a second site to test whether the relative hierarchical positions of the birds in the two subsets would reverse in response to the reversal in levels of experience. We found that while across all releases the top hierarchical positions were occupied by experienced birds significantly more often than by inexperienced ones, the remaining experienced birds were not consistently clustered in the top half—in other words, the network did not become stratified. We discuss our results in light of the adaptive value of structuring leadership hierarchies according to ‘merit’ (here, navigational experience).
    Keywords: behaviour
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 5
    facet.materialart.
    Unknown
    Royal Society
    Publication Date: 2018-08-09
    Description: The transition to a migratory state involves coordinated changes in physiology and behaviour. In species with regular, predictable (obligate) migrations, increasing day length triggers the expression of a spring migratory state and androgens play an important role in stimulating its development. By contrast, we know little about the environmental cues and endocrine mechanisms that regulate migration in species with less predictable (facultative) migrations. Here, we tested whether photoperiod stimulates a migratory state in a facultative nomadic migrant, the pine siskin ( Spinus pinus ). We exposed wintering birds to either a naturally increasing or short-day photoperiod and measured physiological and behavioural changes indicative of a migratory state. We also examined changes in circulating hormones that may play a role in the migratory transition. Natural-day, but not short-day, birds displayed physiological preparations for migration, including increases in fat deposition, and showed increased levels of migratory restlessness. We found no evidence for a role of corticosterone in the migratory transition, but testosterone may be important. This study is the first experimental test of the role of photoperiod in regulating facultative migration and demonstrates that the predictive cue used by many obligate migrants to time spring migration is also important in a facultative migrant.
    Keywords: behaviour, physiology
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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