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Quantifying the interplay between environmental and social effects on aggregated-fish dynamics
Capello, M.; Soria, M.; Cotel, P.; Deneubourg, J.-L.; Dagorn, L. (2011). Quantifying the interplay between environmental and social effects on aggregated-fish dynamics. PLoS One 6(12): 1-7.
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Capello, M., more
  • Soria, M.
  • Cotel, P.
  • Deneubourg, J.-L., more
  • Dagorn, L.

    Demonstrating and quantifying the respective roles of social interactions and external stimuli governing fish dynamics is key to understanding fish spatial distribution. If seminal studies have contributed to our understanding of fish spatial organization in schools, little experimental information is available on fish in their natural environment, where aggregations often occur in the presence of spatial heterogeneities. Here, we applied novel modeling approaches coupled to accurate acoustic tracking for studying the dynamics of a group of gregarious fish in a heterogeneous environment. To this purpose, we acoustically tracked with submeter resolution the positions of twelve small pelagic fish (Selar crumenophthalmus) in the presence of an anchored floating object, constituting a point of attraction for several fish species. We constructed a fieldbased model for aggregated-fish dynamics, deriving effective interactions for both social and external stimuli from experiments. We tuned the model parameters that best fit the experimental data and quantified the importance of social interactions in the aggregation, providing an explanation for the spatial structure of fish aggregations found around floating objects. Our results can be generalized to other gregarious species and contexts as long as it is possible to observe the fine-scale movements of a subset of individuals.

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