Fluctuation-driven flocking movement in three dimensions and scale-free correlation

Takayuki Niizato*, Yukio Pegio Gunji

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in the study of flocking behavior have permitted more sophisticated analyses than previously possible. The concepts of "topological distances" and "scale-free correlations" are important developments that have contributed to this improvement. These concepts require us to reconsider the notion of a neighborhood when applied to theoretical models. Previous work has assumed that individuals interact with neighbors within a certain radius (called the "metric distance"). However, other work has shown that, assuming topological interactions, starlings interact on average with the six or seven nearest neighbors within a flock. Accounting for this observation, we previously proposed a metric-topological interaction model in two dimensions. The goal of our model was to unite these two interaction components, the metric distance and the topological distance, into one rule. In our previous study, we demonstrated that the metric-topological interaction model could explain a real bird flocking phenomenon called scale-free correlation, which was first reported by Cavagna et al. In this study, we extended our model to three dimensions while also accounting for variations in speed. This three-dimensional metric-topological interaction model displayed scale-free correlation for velocity and orientation. Finally, we introduced an additional new feature of the model, namely, that a flock can store and release its fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere35615
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May 25
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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