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Fish schools are one of the best examples of aggregation in animals. Schools are groups of fish that act as a single unit, and are characterized by a streamlined structure and uniform behavior for the purposes of avoiding predators and finding food. Individuals join schools for selfish reasons; therefore, in order for schooling to improve fitness, the schools must offer benefits greater than the costs of increased visibility to predators, increased competition, and energetic instability. These costs are balanced by the benefits of schooling behavior in the presence of predators, altering patterns according to food availability, and engaging in behaviors such as sexual or mixed schooling. Individuals also alter their behavior by competing for the safest spots within the school, jostling to be the first to eat, and leaving the school if does not benefit them as an individual. Study of schools also focuses upon the physical and sensory mechanisms that allow the school to act and respond as a unit, despite being comprised of, sometimes, hundreds or thousands of individuals. This too is evolutionarily relevant as the density, volume, and structure represent the results of selective pressure while maintaining the conflict between those on the outside of the school or unrelated individuals and the rest of the school. As a whole, schools provide insight into aggregate behavior as they can be manipulated, observed and modeled to provide answers.

Author: Aparna Bhaduri

Trinidadian Guppies
The Trinidadian guppy is one of the most studied schooling fish. Its prevalence and ease in breeding both accommodate its study.


Humans have been interested in schooling behavior in fish for centuries, often for very practical reasons. Before scientists marveled at schools as perfect examples of aggregation and products of fine tuned evolutionary action, schooling was important to fisherman. Understanding how and when these schools would arise, how they would travel, and where they could be found were important in many coastal cities and civilizations. Aristotle himself once commented that the fish school ought to be what a society strives to be: as such, the human interest in schooling fish is one of the oldest forms of animal behavior study, one that has taken on an increasingly scientific perspective.

As evolutionary theory predicts, each individual within the school competes for resources, survival, and reproductive potential (Hamilton 1970). A school is a group of fish ranging from just a few fish to thousands of fish that acts like a single entity, where the behaviors that it engages in such as swimming, avoiding predation , and foraging benefits each member of the group distinctly (Edelstein-Keshet 1999). Therefore, questions about schooling behavior center on the evolutionary reasons for schools, potential costs and how they are overcome, as well as specific examinations of the school dynamic .

The methods of studying fish are quite diverse: observation , experimentation , comparison , and computer modeling are some of the most common ways fish schools are studied. The schooling fish that are studied range from the easily manipulated Trinidadian guppy, to the common herring, to parrotfish that are found near corals ( [link] ). Hundreds of species of fish school, and many of them have been studied.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
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What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
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Stoney Reply
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Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
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Damian Reply
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Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
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nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
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Damian Reply
absolutely yes
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s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
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Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
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carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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Source:  OpenStax, Mockingbird tales: readings in animal behavior. OpenStax CNX. Jan 12, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11211/1.5
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