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Collective Animal Behavior
David J. T. Sumpter

Paperback | 2010 | $57.50 | £48.95 | ISBN: 9780691148434
312 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 7 halftones. 61 line illus. 3 tables.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400837106 |
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Fish travel in schools, birds migrate in flocks, honeybees swarm, and ants build trails. How and why do these collective behaviors occur? Exploring how coordinated group patterns emerge from individual interactions, Collective Animal Behavior reveals why animals produce group behaviors and examines their evolution across a range of species.

Providing a synthesis of mathematical modeling, theoretical biology, and experimental work, David Sumpter investigates how animals move and arrive together, how they transfer information, how they make decisions and synchronize their activities, and how they build collective structures. Sumpter constructs a unified appreciation of how different group-living species coordinate their behaviors and why natural selection has produced these groups. For the first time, the book combines traditional approaches to behavioral ecology with ideas about self-organization and complex systems from physics and mathematics. Sumpter offers a guide for working with key models in this area along with case studies of their application, and he shows how ideas about animal behavior can be applied to understanding human social behavior.

Containing a wealth of accessible examples as well as qualitative and quantitative features, Collective Animal Behavior will interest behavioral ecologists and all scientists studying complex systems.


"By exploring the way in which certain animal groups coordinate among themselves, Collective Animal Behavior offers a great deal of insight for managers seeking to better understand how collective behavior takes shape within a company. Using concrete examples, Sumpter . . . offers a clear account whose scope extends well beyond the natural sciences."--Business Digest

"Collective Animal Behavior provides an excellent synthesis of mathematical modeling and biology with experimental and theoretical studies. . . . [T]his volume does come with a homepage (, and the author has generously made many of the models he constructed available to those who want to run their own simulations. If the author keeps this portal up to date and his blog active, I am confident that readers interested in collective behavior, modeling, artificial intelligence, behavioral ecology, and evolution will enjoy not just the book but the complete interactive package."--Istvan Karsai, BioScience

"[T]his book is very important not only for biologists but also for decision makers. . . . [I]t is time that decision makers learn the principles of collective animal behavior for the benefits of humans. I thank the author for a very useful book."--E. Ahmed, Zentralblatt MATH

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Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
Chapter 1: Introduction 1
Chapter 2: Coming Together 14
Chapter 3: Information Transfer 44
Chapter 4: Making Decisions 77
Chapter 5: Moving Together 101
Chapter 6: Synchronization 130
Chapter 7: Structures 151
Chapter 8: Regulation 173
Chapter 9: Complicated Interactions 198
Chapter 10: The Evolution of Co-operation 223
Chapter 11: Conclusions 253
References 259
Index 293

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