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Dominating lengthscales of zebrafish collective behaviour

PLOS Computational Biology

13 Jan 2022

Yang Y, Turci F, Kague E, Hammond CL, Russo J, Royall CP.

Collective behaviour in living systems is observed across many scales, from bacteria to insects, to fish shoals. Zebrafish have emerged as a model system amenable to laboratory study. Here we report a three-dimensional study of the collective dynamics of fifty Zebrafish. We observed the emergence of collective behaviour changing between polarised to randomised, upon adaption to new environmental conditions. We quantify the spatial and temporal correlation functions of the fish and identify two length scales, the persistence length and the nearest neighbour distance, that capture the essence of the behavioural changes. The ratio of the two length scales correlates robustly with the polarisation of collective motion that we explain with a reductionist model of self–propelled particles with alignment interactions.

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