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Vortex phase matching as a strategy for schooling in robots and in fish, Nature Communications

Robots help to answer age-old question of why fish school

by Carla Avolio

Study using biomimetic fish-like robots shows that swimming closely together offers fish hydrodynamic benefits – research project with participation from University of Konstanz researchers provides first experimental validation of an answer to an old question.

A fish school is a striking demonstration of synchronicity. Yet centuries of study have left a basic question unanswered: do fish save energy by swimming in schools?

Current Biology: The multilevel society of a small-brained bird

The first publication of the vulturine guineafowl project is out! The team in the Farine lab have revealed the best evidence yet for a multilevel society in a bird species. The study demonstrates that vulturine guineafowl live in stable groups that comprise of multiple breeding units, and that these groups interact preferentially with other groups, both during the day and at communal roosts. The study combined large-scale census data with high-resolution GPS tracking to reveal the highly detailed information about the vulturine guineafowl society.

ERC Starting Grant to Study the Ecology of Collective Behaviour

15Dr. Damien Farine wins 2019 ERC grant

Biologist at the interface of collective behaviour and ecology nabs prestigious European grant for early career researchers.

Dr. Damien Farine, a principal investigator at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, has been awarded a prestigious ERC Starting Grant. Announced today, the prominent grant—which includes 1.5 million euros in funding over the next 5 years—is designed to help early career scientists and scholars build their own teams and conduct pioneering research.

Science: Storks on the wing

Original Publication in “Science”: click here
Andrea Flack, Máté Nagy, Wolfgang Fiedler, Iain D. Couzin, Martin Wikelski
From local collective behavior to global migratory patterns in white storks.

 

For little Louis, it is the most exciting day of his life: just six or seven weeks ago, the young stork came into the world on a birch tree in Radolfzell on Lake Constance. Up to this day in June 2014, he has only known his parents and three siblings.

ASAB Christopher Barnard Award for Outstanding Contributions by a New Investigator

We are pleased that Dr. Damien Farine was awarded the 2018 Christopher Barnard Award for Outstanding Contributions by a New Investigator by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB). This award is given to one researcher each year in recognition for research excellence in the field of Animal Behaviour. Read more about the award here: http://www.asab.org/barnard/. You can find out more about Damien’s research at his lab page here: Farine Lab

Science: Shared decision-making in wild baboons

A paper published in Science by Ari Strandburg-Peshkin, Damien Farine, Iain Couzin and Meg Crofoot sheds new light on collective movement in highly heterogeneous groups of animals in the wild. This paper combines fitting high-resolution collars to almost all individuals in a troop of wild baboons with innovative analytical techniques to reveal how primate troops decide where and when to move. Baboon movement dynamics are remarkably similar to those predicted by theoretical models of collective animal behaviour that are based on simple interaction rules,

The American Naturalist Presidential Award

The Jordan lab‘s recent paper on optimal social foraging in spiders, which appeared in The American Naturalist, won the 2015 President’s Award for best paper

(via amnat.org): The winner of the American Society of Naturalists’ Presidential Award for the best paper to appear in the journal American Naturalist during 2014 is entitled, “Reproductive Foragers: Male Spiders Choose Mates by Selecting among Competitive Environments” and was written by Alex Jordan,

Trends in Ecology & Evolution: The evolutionary implications of group phenotypic composition

A paper published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution by Damien Farine and co-authors highlights the importance for considering the evolutionary feedback between individuals and the phenotypic composition of their social environment. When phenotypic structure exists in a group, community, or population of animals, then selection can operate across multiple scales. When social or group-level selection arises, it can induce an evolutionary response in individuals, thus driving the emergence of plasticity or social decision-making rules.

Current Biology: Social relationships determine individual foraging behaviour

A new paper published in Current Biology, co-authored by Damien Farine, examined how wild birds valued their relationship with their mated partner in comparison to their access to food. Using automated feeding stations, mated pairs were split so that male could only access the feeding stations that the female couldn’t, and vice versa. However, the birds chose to sacrifice access to food in order to stay with their partner over the winter period.