Synergy in social communication

David J. T. Sumpter and Åke Brännström

in Sociobiology of Communication

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199216840
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712043 | DOI:
 Synergy in social communication

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  • Zoology and Animal Sciences


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Synergy is where the interactions of a group of individuals becomes more than the sum of their parts. This chapter reviews how, through the use of social communication, foraging animals can increase their rate of finding food. This chapter discusses how mechanisms such as pheromone trails, dancing, and other signals act to increase group, and thus individual success. It also discusses how social dilemmas can arise where costly signalling can be exploited by non-signallers. It shows that under a range of conditions, specifically when group success increases more than linearly with group size, co-operative signalling can evolve without kin selection or recipricocity. This study serves to emphasise the importance in linking mechanism with function when studying collective behaviour of animals.

Keywords: collective behaviour; self-organisation; group foraging; pheromone trails; dancing

Chapter.  10037 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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