An Investigation into the Effects of Sentinels on Animat Collectives

Chris J. Scogings and Ken A. Hawick


Animat, Sentinel, Agent-based model, Collective behaviour, complexity


It is well known that animal groups use sentinels. We model the benefits to a collective by incorporating sentinel behaviour into an existing agent-based model consisting of predator and prey animats. Our model system is large enough to exhibit multi-length and multi-time scale behaviours, and we compare the effects of individal members of the prey species adopting sentinel roles, with the normal boom-bust behaviour of the established model. We record significant changes to animat spatial patterns and population size and demonstrate how such models can be used to enable various “what-if” scenarios and provide interesting insights and allow exploration of situations that would be impossible to measure during field research into real animal groups.

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