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Keywords:

  • Chaos;
  • collective behaviour;
  • energy expenditure;
  • fish;
  • metabolic rate;
  • synchronization

Abstract

The highly gregarious goat fish Parupeneus forskalii found in the Red Sea at Eilat, Israel exhibit highly synchronous swimming and feeding activity. Five fish were studied under controlled conditions and highly resolved time-series of their energy expenditures were measured. All fish demonstrated strong phase synchronization in that their activity levels, although erratic in time and intensity, were collectively coordinated and peaked simultaneously together. The synchronization of these wildly varying, and possibly chaotic signals of energy expenditures, were quantified using phase analysis. We suggest that, ecologically, this collective synchronization is a strategy that increases food-catch.