Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | VOL. 289
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Collective movement as a solution to noisy navigation and its vulnerability to population loss

Publication Date Nov 16, 2022

Abstract

Many animals use the geomagnetic field to migrate long distances with high accuracy; however, research has shown that individual responses to magnetic cues can be highly variable. Thus, it has been hypothesized that magnetoreception alone is insufficient for accurate migrations and animals must either switch to a more accurate sensory cue or integrate their magnetic sense over time. Here we suggest that magnetoreceptive migrators could also use collective navigation strategies. Using agent-based models, we compare agents utilizing collective navigation to both the use of a secondary sensory system and time-integration. Our models demonstrate that collective navigation allows for 70% success rates for noisy navigators. To reach the same success rates, a secondary sensory system must provide perfect navigation for over 73% of the migratory route, and time integration must integrate over 50 time-steps, indicating that magnetoreceptive animals could benefit from using collective navigation. Finally, we explore the impact of population loss on animals relying on collective navigation. We show that as population density decreases, a greater proportion of individuals fail to reach their destination and that a 50% population reduction can result in up to a 37% decrease in the proportion of individuals completing their migration.

Concepts

Collective Navigation Population Density Decreases Collective Movement Population Loss Secondary System Agent-based Models Population Reduction Time Integration Magnetic Sense Success Rates

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