par Perna, Andrea ;Facchini, Giulio;Deneubourg, Jean-Louis
Référence Journal of the Royal Society interface, 16, 154, 20190212
Publication Publié, 2019-05-01
Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Group living animals form aggregations and flocks that remain cohesive in spite of internal movements of individuals. This is possible because individual group members repeatedly adjust their position and motion in response to the position and motion of other group members. Here, we develop a theoretical approach to address the question, what general features—if any—underlie the interaction rules that mediate group stability in animals of all species? We do so by considering how the spatial organization of a group would change in the complete absence of interactions. Without interactions, a group would disperse in a way that can be easily characterized in terms of Fick’s diffusion equations. We can hence address the inverse theoretical problem of finding the individual-level interaction responses that are required to counterbalance diffusion and to preserve group stability. We show that an individual-level response to neighbour densities in the form of Weber’s Law (a ‘universal’ law describing the functioning of the sensory systems of animals of all species) results in an ‘anti-diffusion’ term at the group level. On short timescales, this anti-diffusion restores the initial group configuration in a way that is reminiscent of methods for image deblurring in image processing. We also show that any non-homogeneous, spatial density distribution can be preserved over time if individual movement patterns have the form of a Weber’s Law response. Weber’s Law describes the fundamental functioning of perceptual systems. Our study indicates that it is also a necessary—but not sufficient—feature of collective interactions in stable animal groups.