Movement interactions and the underlying social structure in groups have relevance across many social-living species. Collective motion of groups could be based on an "egalitarian" decision system, but in practice it is often influenced by underlying social network structures and by individual characteristics. We investigated whether dominance rank and personality traits are linked to leader and follower roles during joint motion of family dogs. We obtained high-resolution spatio-temporal GPS trajectory data (823,148 data points) from six dogs belonging to the same household and their owner during 14 30-40 min unleashed walks. We identified several features of the dogs' paths (e.g., running speed or distance from the owner) which are characteristic of a given dog. A directional correlation analysis quantifies interactions between pairs of dogs that run loops jointly. We found that dogs play the role of the leader about 50-85% of the time, i.e. the leader and follower roles in a given pair are dynamically interchangable. However, on a longer timescale tendencies to lead differ consistently. The network constructed from these loose leader-follower relations is hierarchical, and the dogs' positions in the network correlates with the age, dominance rank, trainability, controllability, and aggression measures derived from personality questionnaires. We demonstrated the possibility of determining dominance rank and personality traits of an individual based only on its logged movement data. The collective motion of dogs is influenced by underlying social network structures and by characteristics such as personality differences. Our findings could pave the way for automated animal personality and human social interaction measurements.
Thermal soaring saves much energy, but flying large distances in this form represents a great challenge for birds, people and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The solution is to make use of the so-called thermals, which are localized, warmer regions in the atmosphere moving upward with a speed exceeding the descent rate of birds and planes. Saving energy by exploiting the environment more efficiently is an important possibility for autonomous UAVs as well. Successful control strategies have been developed recently for UAVs in simulations and in real applications. This paper first presents an overview of our knowledge of the soaring flight and strategy of birds, followed by a discussion of control strategies that have been developed for soaring UAVs both in simulations and applications on real platforms. To improve the accuracy of the simulation of thermal exploitation strategies we propose a method to take into account the effect of turbulence. Finally, we propose a new GPS-independent control strategy for exploiting thermal updrafts.
Animals that travel together in groups display a variety of fascinating motion patterns thought to be the result of delicate local interactions among group members. Although the most informative way of investigating and interpreting collective movement phenomena would be afforded by the collection of high-resolution spatiotemporal data from moving individuals, such data are scarce and are virtually non-existent for long-distance group motion within a natural setting because of the associated technological difficulties. Here we present results of experiments in which track logs of homing pigeons flying in flocks of up to 10 individuals have been obtained by high-resolution lightweight GPS devices and analysed using a variety of correlation functions inspired by approaches common in statistical physics. We find a well-defined hierarchy among flock members from data concerning leading roles in pairwise interactions, defined on the basis of characteristic delay times between birds directional choices. The average spatial position of a pigeon within the flock strongly correlates with its place in the hierarchy, and birds respond more quickly to conspecifics perceived primarily through the left eye-both results revealing differential roles for birds that assume different positions with respect to flock-mates. From an evolutionary perspective, our results suggest that hierarchical organization of group flight may be more efficient than an egalitarian one, at least for those flock sizes that permit regular pairwise interactions among group members, during which leader-follower relationships are consistently manifested.
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