Friday, October 28, 2011

The Mathematics Of Flocks

Mathematical models have shown that the complex patterns formed by flocks of starlings, called a murmuration, or schools of fish moving in unison, obey a few simple rules. Computer models were used to help decode these rules. Fish schools are always elongated as an automatic result of self organisation. As a fish, swimming behind another, slows down to avoid a collision, its immediate neighbours move in to fill the gap, producing an elongated school. Individual fish on the outskirts of a turning group can accelerate slightly, while those inside slow down, so the fish maintain their position in the group and keep the school elongated. Starling flocks produce more complex, varied patterns. Birds in the flock turn individually but do not vary their speed much, so the positions of birds relative to one another change. A wide & flat flock becomes long and narrow after a 90-degree turn. Another factor is the large number of individuals in the flock & the small number of partners (seven) that each bird interacts with.
Posted by Astrojenny


 

5 comments:

The way large groups of animals move is truly amazing, we have enough problems when someone brakes sharply on the motorway and then people have to keep braking in the same place for hours for no apparent reason.

I wonder if these flocks are noisy with the sounds of 'Sorry' 'Excuse me' 'Coming through' 'No after you' 'May I just squeeze past?' 'Are you in the queue?' :)

Left no the other left !

Maniac! Did you see the speed he was going? Try indicating mate!

This is really interesting. It's amazing the difference between the two flocking behaviours. Makes sense though

Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More