News

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 […]

Current Biology: Social learning strategies

A new paper published in Current Biology by Damien Farine and Neeltje Boogert shows that exposure to stress in early life led juvenile zebra finches to switch social learning strategies. Zebra finches acquire new foraging behaviours by observing conspecifics, but this information does not spread randomly through the social network. Using a novel statistical model revealed that finches […]

Nature: Experimental evolution of culture in wild birds

A new paper in Nature with Damien Farine and colleagues from the University of Oxford reports an experimental study in Wytham Woods, Oxford, in which arbitrary behaviours were introduced and tracked as they spread through social networks of wild great tits. The work shows that social learning can lead to the rapid establishment of stable differences within populations, […]

Current Biology: The dynamics of group hunting and collective evasion

We employ high frequency sonar imaging to explore The Dynamics of Coordinated Group Hunting and Collective Information Transfer among Schooling Prey, published in Current Biology. Accompanying our paper is a short video abstract aimed at a broad audience which highlights the methods and the results of the paper: You can find out more by reading […]

PNAS: Revealing the hidden networks of interaction in mobile animal groups

Establishing the decision-making circuits and networks that give rise to individual behavior has been a central goal of neuroscience. However, the analogous problem of determining the structure of the communication network among organisms that gives rise to coordinated collective behavior, such as is exhibited by schooling fish and flocking birds, has remained almost entirely neglected. In […]