Among fish, dominance reduces influence; study suggests it’s the passive that really lead

If fish are any guide, subordinate males may actually have more influence on groups than their domineering and aggressive counterparts, according to a new study in the journal Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers, led by Alex Jordan from Germany’s Max Planck Institute, were interested in the interplay between power, dominance and influence – a theme permeating animal and human populations.

“In many societies, whether animal or human, individuals in positions of power all possess a similar suite of traits,” says Jordan. “They are often loud, aggressive, pushy, and at least in our current political climate, overconfident in their knowledge of specialist matters.”

Gaining positions of power tends to be a competitive process, thus favouring individuals that use aggression and intimidation to get their way.

“But are these powerful individuals most influential?” Jordan asks.

“And if our goal is to create groups and social structures that are responsive to change, and through which new information spreads quickly and effectively, do we really want the most aggressive individuals in powerful positions?” READ MORE

High-resolution, non-invasive animal tracking and reconstruction of local environment in aquatic ecosystems

Wanna build a 3D underwater animal tracking rig for a few hundred bucks? Wanna run it using open source, deep-learning based code that can be run on free computing clusters? Check out our new technique just published:

The complex choices of animals – 3D technology meets behavioural research.


Associated with our new paper in PRSB, here’s a nice little news story:

Writing Retreat

We had a fun and productive winter break in a small (freezing!) hut in Hittisau

For more news, head to OLD NEWS