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We develop a simple individual-based model to gain an understanding of the drivers of aggregation behaviour in nomadic foragers. The model incorporates two key elements influencing nomadic foragers in variable environments: uncertainty regarding the location of food sources and variability in the spatio-temporal distribution of ephemeral food sources. A genetic algorithm is used to evolve parameters describing an individual's movement and aggregation strategy. We apply the aggregation model to a case study of the Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus). Bearded pigs are ideal for considering the foraging advantages of aggregation, because they are highly mobile and exhibit a variety of aggregation strategies, ranging from solitary and sedentary to mass aggregation and wide ranging migration. Our model demonstrates the "many-wrongs principle", and shows that environmental variability, uncertainty in the location of food sources, and local population density drive aggregation behaviour.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.jtbi.2005.09.019

Type

Journal article

Journal

Journal of theoretical biology

Publication Date

05/2006

Volume

240

Pages

302 - 310

Addresses

Imperial College London, Division of Biology, Manor House, Silwood Park Campus, Imperial College London, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK. p.hancock@imperial.ac.uk

Keywords

Animals, Swine, Feeding Behavior, Social Behavior, Cooperative Behavior, Spatial Behavior, Models, Biological, Models, Psychological