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Fish Leaders

May 16, 2017

Some fish are leaders and some are followers, especially when there are predators are around.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Guppy groupies. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Finding Nemo clip)

In “Finding Nemo, a school of fish escape a fishermans’ net by swimming in formation under the leadership of a single individual. Now, researchers report in Science Advances that groups of guppies will rely on one leader to make most decisions about which way to swim next, especially in predator-infested rivers. University of Bristol biologist Christos Ioannou explains.

CHRISTOS IOANNOU (University of Bristol):

There tend to be more leader or follower types in the high-predation environments. If you find yourself in a group where everyone else is quite shy, you might respond by then taking on that kind of leadership role. So you respond to the social environment that surrounds you.

HIRSHON:

The study suggests that social decisions can be strongly influenced by ecological factors. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard