Patchy landscapes promote stability of small groups on arXiv

Patchy landscapes promote stability of small groups

Gianni Jacucci, Davide Breoni, Sandrine Heijnen, José Palomo, Philip Jones, Hartmut Löwen, Giorgio Volpe, Sylvain Gigan


Abstract: Group formation and coordination are fundamental characteristics of living systems, essential for performing tasks and ensuring survival. Interactions between individuals play a key role in group formation, and the impact of resource distributions is a vibrant area of research. Using active particles in a tuneable optical environment as a model system, we demonstrate that heterogeneous energy source distributions result in smaller, more stable groups with reduced individual exchange between clusters compared to homogeneous conditions. Reduced group sizes can be beneficial to optimise resources in heterogeneous environments and to control information flow within populations. Devoid of biological complications, our system provides insights into the importance of patchy landscapes in ecological dynamics and holds implications for refining swarm intelligence algorithms and enhancing crowd control techniques.