How Behaviour and the Environment Influence Transmission in Mobile Groups

Thomas Gorochowski, Thomas Richardson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The movement of individuals living in groups leads to the formation of physical interaction networks over which signals such as information or disease can be transmitted. Direct contacts represent the most obvious opportunities for a signal to be transmitted. However, because signals that persist after being deposited into the environment may later be acquired by other group members, indirect environmentally-mediated transmission is also possible. To date, studies of signal transmission within groups have focused on direct physical interactions and ignored the role of indirect pathways. Here, we use an agent-based model to study how the movement of individuals and characteristics of the signal being transmitted modulate transmission. By analysing the dynamic interaction networks generated from these simulations, we show that the addition of indirect pathways speeds up signal transmission, while the addition of physically-realistic collisions between individuals in densely packed environments hampers it. Furthermore, the inclusion of spatial biases that induce the formation of individual territories, reveals the existence of a trade-off such that optimal signal transmission at the group level is only achieved when territories are of intermediate sizes. Our findings provide insight into the selective pressures guiding the evolution of behavioural traits in natural groups, and offer a means by which multi-agent systems can be engineered to achieve desired transmission capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTemporal Network Epidemiology
EditorsNaoki Masuda, Petter Holme
PublisherSpringer, Singapore
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-5287-3
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-5286-6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017

Publication series

NameTheoretical Biology
ISSN (Print)2522-0438
ISSN (Electronic)2522-0446

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