YORK, England, May 27 (UPI) — A British-led study finds fish alter their movements when threatened by predators, employing better synchronization to help them to blend into the crowd.
University of York scientists said they combined computer simulation and experimental study of group behavior to discover that shoaling fish co-ordinate their movements more frequently when under threat. The fish, the researchers said, move in a more coherent fashion to allow individual fish to reduce the risk of being targeted by predators as the ‘odd one out’.
“We find that as grouping animals feel more threatened, they monitor their fellows more frequently, which results in better synchronization,” said researcher Jamie Wood. “Closely coordinated movement has the advantage that predators find it more difficult to single out a single target for their prey. Our work may help to explain how tightly bound fish shoals emerge and determine how agitated animals moving in groups are at any given moment.”
The research that involved scientist from the University of Leeds and the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin appears in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.