Robustness of self-organised systems to changes in behaviour: an example from real and simulated self-organised snail aggregations.

Stafford, R., Williams, G.A. and Davies, M.S., 2011. Robustness of self-organised systems to changes in behaviour: an example from real and simulated self-organised snail aggregations. PLoS One, 6 (7), e22743.

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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022743

Abstract

Group or population level self-organised systems comprise many individuals displaying group-level emergent properties. Current theory indicates that individual-level behaviours have an effect on the final group-level behaviour; that is, self-organised systems are sensitive to small changes in individual behaviour. Here we examine a self-organised behaviour in relation to environmentally-driven individual-level changes in behaviour, using both natural systems and computer simulations. We demonstrate that aggregations of intertidal snails slightly decrease in size when, owing to hotter and more desiccating conditions, individuals forage for shorter periods--a seemingly non-adaptive behaviour for the snails since aggregation reduces desiccation stress. This decrease, however, only occurs in simple experimental systems (and simulations of these systems). When studied in their natural and more complex environment, and simulations of such an environment, using the same reduced foraging time, no difference in aggregation behaviour was found between hot and cool days. These results give an indication of how robust self-organised systems are to changes in individual-level behaviour. The complexity of the natural environment and the interactions of individuals with this environment, therefore, can result in self-organised systems being more resilient to individual-level changes than previously assumed.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1932-6203
Uncontrolled Keywords:Adaptation, Physiological ; Animals ; Behavior, Animal ; Computer Simulation ; Cooperative Behavior ; Environment ; Mathematics ; Snails ; Social Behavior
Subjects:UNSPECIFIED
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:24695
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:06 Sep 2016 15:43
Last Modified:06 Sep 2016 15:43

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