Activity: Examination types › External Examination and Supervision
As animals of the same species are often found either clustered together, for example in herds, or spread apart, it is natural to ask if there exist general rules that govern how the members of a population distribute in space. This question has been addressed in the context of animal that marks the terrain with visual or olfactory cues. A general framework to study animal spacing is being proposed based on the concept of stigmergy, a form of indirect interaction whereby animals modify the environment which in turn affects other individuals. Although stigmergy has a long history in ecology, it has been used so far to explain processes, commonly observed in eusocial insect societies. This study presents evidence that the formation of animal spacing patterns is also a form of stigmergy.