Nav: Home

Themed issue lays foundation for emerging field of collective movement ecology

March 26, 2018

On land, in air, and through water, many species of animals move together in groups. Thundering herds of wildebeest migrate across the Serengeti; murmurations of starlings move as if one to avoid hawks; and pods of dolphins work together to hunt schools of sardines. Collective movement is one of the great natural wonders on Earth and has long captured our imaginations. But there's a lot we don't understand about how collective movement drives -- and is driven by -- broader ecological and evolutionary processes.

In a special themed issue in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Andrew Berdahl (Santa Fe Institute), Colin Torney (University of Glasgow), Dora Biro (Oxford University) and Peter Westley (University of Alaska Fairbanks), have gathered together contributions from a range of researchers working in the emerging field of collective movement ecology, which is poised to dive into some of these outstanding questions.

The themed issue came about as part of an SFI working group, and explores four interconnected themes: technological advances; linking individual to collective movement; linking collective movement to ecological and evolutionary processes; and the implications of understanding such processes for species conservation and management.

Collective movement ecology merges two separate but related fields. The first -- movement ecology -- explores both the drivers of individual animal movements, and how those movements influence other ecological processes. The second -- collective animal behavior -- largely relies on lab-based studies and simulations to understand how social interactions influence animal decision-making in groups.

"It is a very exciting time: movement ecology is increasingly considering the social context of movement decisions; and collective behaviour is being integrated with ecology and evolution" says Berdahl. "Meanwhile, new technologies are allowing us to put all of these ideas together with data from real animal groups moving in the wild."

Beyond fundamental fascination, collective movement ecology is poised to inform pressing issues of conservation and management of animals on the move. According to Westley, "Knowledge that individuals move in groups has long been used by local harvesters, fishermen, and natural resource managers, but the new insights emerging from our work will help catalyze the incorporation of social dynamics into conservation decision-making."
-end-


Santa Fe Institute

Related Conservation Articles:

Targeted conservation could protect more of Earth's biodiversity
A new study finds that major gains in global biodiversity can be achieved if an additional 5 percent of land is set aside to protect key species.
Conservation endocrinology in a changing world
The BioScience Talks podcast (http://bioscience.libsyn.com) features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.
Marine conservation must consider human rights
Ocean conservation is essential for protecting the marine environment and safeguarding the resources that people rely on for livelihoods and food security.
Mapping Biodiversity and Conservation Hotspots of the Amazon
Researchers have used remote sensing data to map out the functional diversity of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon basin, a technique that revealed hotspots for conservation.
Mapping biodiversity and conservation hotspots of the Amazon
Researchers have used remote sensing data to map out the functional diversity of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon basin, a technique that revealed hotspots for conservation.
Internet data could boost conservation
Businesses routinely use internet data to learn about customers and increase profits -- and similar techniques could be used to boost conservation.
Why conservation fails
The only way for northern countries to halt deforestation in the South is to make sure land owners are paid more than it costs them to conserve the forest.
Visitors to countryside not attracted by conservation importance
Countryside visitors choose where to go based on the presence of features such as coastline, woodland or abundant footpaths, rather than a site's importance to conservation, according to new research.
In communicating wildlife conservation, focus on the right message
If you want people to care about endangered species, focus on how many animals are left, not on the chances of a species becoming extinct, according to a new study by Cornell University communication scholars.
New partnership to boost Asia-Pacific conservation
The University of Adelaide and global organization Conservation International (CI) today announced a strategic partnership that will help boost conservation efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, including a global conservation drone program.

Related Conservation Reading:

Saving Wild: Inspiration From 50 Leading Conservationists
by Lori Robinson (Author), Jane Goodall (Foreword)

According to scientists, we are entering the sixth great mass extinction event. Full of inspiration and hope, this book is an antidote for anyone who suffers from ecological despair over the current state of our planets wildlife and wild places. Lori Robinson sought out fifty of the world’s leading conservationists, men and women who have devoted their lives to saving some of the most endangered species and the most threatened areas on earth. To each she posed the question: How do you stay inspired? This book is the result. Among the people Robinson interviewed are wildlife filmmakers... View Details


The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water
by Gary E. Machlis (Author), Jonathan B. Jarvis (Author), Terry Tempest Williams (Foreword)

This is a turbulent time for the conservation of America’s natural and cultural heritage. From the current assaults on environmental protection to the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss, and disparity of environmental justice, the challenges facing the conservation movement are both immediate and long term. In this time of uncertainty, we need a clear and compelling guide for the future of conservation in America, a declaration to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders. This is that guide—what the authors describe as “a chart for rough water.”

... View Details


Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things
by M. R. O'Connor (Author)

**A Library Journal Best Book of 2015 **
**A Christian Science Monitor Top Ten Book of September**

In a world dominated by people and rapid climate change, species large and small are increasingly vulnerable to extinction. In Resurrection Science, journalist M. R. O'Connor explores the extreme measures scientists are taking to try and save them, from captive breeding and genetic management to de-extinction. Paradoxically, the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become. In stories of sixteenth-century galleon excavations,... View Details


Conservation: Linking Ecology, Economics, and Culture
by Monique Borgerhoff Mulder (Author), Peter Coppolillo (Author)

Nearly 90 percent of the earth's land surface is directly affected by human infrastructure and activities, yet less than 5 percent is legally "protected" for biodiversity conservation--and even most large protected areas have people living inside their boundaries. In all but a small fraction of the earth's land area, then, conservation and people must coexist. Conservation is a resource for all those who aim to reconcile biodiversity with human livelihoods. It traces the historical roots of modern conservation thought and practice, and explores current perspectives from evolutionary... View Details


The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection
by Dorceta E. Taylor (Author)

In this sweeping social history Dorceta E. Taylor examines the emergence and rise of the multifaceted U.S. conservation movement from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. She shows how race, class, and gender influenced every aspect of the movement, including the establishment of parks; campaigns to protect wild game, birds, and fish; forest conservation; outdoor recreation; and the movement's links to nineteenth-century ideologies. Initially led by white urban elites—whose early efforts discriminated against the lower class and were often tied up with slavery and the... View Details


An Introduction to Conservation Biology
by Richard B. Primack (Author), Anna Sher (Author)

New coauthor Anna Sher joins longtime author Richard Primack in creating a book that combines the readability of Primack's A Primer of Conservation Biology with the depth and coverage of his larger textbook, Essentials of Conservation Biology. The result is a book well suited for a wide range of undergraduate courses, as both a primary text for conservation biology courses and a supplement for ecological and environmental science courses.

Using the chapter framework of the current Primer as a springboard, the authors have added three chapters focused on... View Details


Wild Things, Wild Places: Adventurous Tales of Wildlife and Conservation on Planet Earth
by Jane Alexander (Author)

In Wild Things, Wild Places actress, author, and conservationist Jane Alexander offers a moving first-hand assessment of what is being done to help the planet’s most at risk animals. In short reflections on her travels to some of the most remote and forbidding areas, she describes the ways in which human incursions into the natural world are destroying wildlife around the globe. With a clear eye and a keen grasp of the issues, Alexander highlights the remarkable work being done in the fields of science and conservation, and introduces readers to the field biologists, zoologists,... View Details


Essentials of Conservation Biology
by Richard B. Primack (Author)

Essentials of Conservation Biology, Sixth Edition, combines theory and applied and basic research to explain the connections between conservation biology and ecology, climate change biology, the protection of endangered species, protected area management, environmental economics, and sustainable development. A major theme throughout the book is the active role that scientists, local people, the general public, conservation organizations, and governments can play in protecting biodiversity, even while providing for human needs.

Each chapter begins with general ideas and... View Details


Essential Readings in Wildlife Management and Conservation
by Paul R. Krausman (Editor), Bruce D. Leopold (Editor)

Prepared by two of the leading figures in wildlife biology, this book gathers in one volume the most influential articles published in the field. Paul R. Krausman and Bruce D. Leopold have collected the forty-two papers that every wildlife student should read. Each piece is introduced with a commentary that explains why it is important and a brief listing of papers that inspired or were inspired by the classic. Practical and conceptual topics consider every aspect of the wildlife profession, including ethics. Ideal for use as a textbook, Essential Readings in Wildlife Management and... View Details


Conservation Education and Outreach Techniques (Techniques in Ecology & Conservation)
by Susan K. Jacobson (Author), Mallory McDuff (Author), Martha Monroe (Author)

The conservation of biological diversity depends on people's knowledge and actions. This book presents the theory and practice for creating effective education and outreach programmes for conservation. The authors describe an exciting array of techniques for enhancing school resources, marketing environmental messages, using social media, developing partnerships for conservation, and designing on-site programmes for parks and community centres. Vivid case studies from around the world illustrate techniques and describe planning, implementation, and evaluation procedures, enabling readers to... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Turning Kids Into Grown-Ups
Parenting is fraught with uncertainty, changing with each generation. This hour, TED speakers share ideas about raising kids and how — despite our best efforts — we're probably still doing it wrong. Guests include former Stanford dean Julie Lythcott-Haims, former firefighter Caroline Paul, author Peggy Orenstein, psychologist Dr. Aala El-Khani, and poet Sarah Kay.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#470 Information Spookyhighway
This week we take a closer look at a few of the downsides of the modern internet, and some of the security and privacy challenges that are becoming increasingly troublesome. Rachelle Saunders speaks with cyber security expert James Lyne about how modern hacking differs from the hacks of old, and how an internet without national boards makes it tricky to police online crime across jurisdictions. And Bethany Brookshire speaks with David Garcia, a computer scientist at the Complexity Science Hub and the Medical University of Vienna, about the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, and how social media platforms put a wrench...