Environmental Perturbations Induce Correlations in Midge Swarms

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Van Der Vaart, K., Sinhuber, M., Reynolds, A. M. and Ouellette, N. T. 2020. Environmental Perturbations Induce Correlations in Midge Swarms. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 17 (164), p. 20200018. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2020.0018

AuthorsVan Der Vaart, K., Sinhuber, M., Reynolds, A. M. and Ouellette, N. T.

Although collectively behaving animal groups often show large-scale order (such as in bird flocks), they need not always (such as in insect swarms). It has been suggested that the signature of collective behavior in disordered groups is a residual long-range correlation. However, results in the literature have reported contradictory results as to the presence of long-range correlation in insect swarms, with swarms in the wild displaying correlation but those in a controlled laboratory environment not. We resolve these apparently incompatible results by showing the external perturbations generically induce the emergence of correlations. We apply a range of different external stimuli to laboratory swarms of the non-biting midge Chironomus riparius, and show that in all cases correlations appear when perturbations are introduced. We confirm the generic nature of these results by showing that they can be reproduced in a stochastic model of swarms. Given that swarms in the wild will always have to contend with environmental stimuli, our results thus harmonize previous findings.

KeywordsInsect flight patterns; Stochastic models; Collective behaviour; Perturbed insect swarms; Correlations
Year of Publication2020
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Journal citation17 (164), p. 20200018
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2020.0018
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBBSRC Industrial Strategy Challenge
Funder project or codeBBSRC Strategic Programme in Smart Crop Protection
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online25 Mar 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted04 Mar 2020
PublisherRoyal Society Publishing

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