Emergent group level navigation: an agent-based evaluation of movement patterns in a folivorous primate.


The foraging activity of many organisms reveal strategic movement patterns, showing efficient use of spatially distributed resources. The underlying mechanisms behind these movement patterns, such as the use of spatial memory, are topics of considerable debate. To augment existing evidence of spatial memory use in primates, we generated movement patterns from simulated primate agents with simple sensory and behavioral capabilities. We developed agents representing various hypotheses of memory use, and compared the movement patterns of simulated groups to those of an observed group of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus rufomitratus), testing for: the effects of memory type (Euclidian or landmark based), amount of memory retention, and the effects of social rules in making foraging choices at the scale of the group (independent or leader led). Our results indicate that red colobus movement patterns fit best with simulated groups that have landmark based memory and a follow the leader foraging strategy. Comparisons between simulated agents revealed that social rules had the greatest impact on a group's step length, whereas the type of memory had the highest impact on a group's path tortuosity and cohesion. Using simulation studies as experimental trials to test theories of spatial memory use allows the development of insight into the behavioral mechanisms behind animal movement, developing case-specific results, as well as general results informing how changes to perception and behavior influence movement patterns.





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Publication Info

Bonnell, Tyler R, Marco Campennì, Colin A Chapman, Jan F Gogarten, Rafael A Reyna-Hurtado, Julie A Teichroeb, Michael D Wasserman, Raja Sengupta, et al. (2013). Emergent group level navigation: an agent-based evaluation of movement patterns in a folivorous primate. PLoS One, 8(10). p. e78264. 10.1371/journal.pone.0078264 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9182.

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