Many if not most animal species live in social groups (think fish schools, bird flocks, insect swarms, mammalian herds), but the way in which these groups form remains a mystery. It is known that animals often choose to group with members of their own species that look similar to themselves, are the same size, or are related. But, could there be underlying physiological traits that also determine how animals within a species sort into groups? Furthermore, after animals have formed groups, is there spatial distribution patterns within the groups that are influenced by physiological or performance traits? The answers to these questions will have a range of effects on group performance, responses to environmental change, group cohesion, and assortative mating and evolutionary trajectories. A new paper by Shaun Killen and colleagues reviews these topics & more. Read the open access papers here!:
Killen, S.S., Marras, S., Nadler, L.E., Domenici, P. 2017. The role of physiological traits in assortment among and within fish shoals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 372: 20160236.