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The earliest studies of collective animal behaviour were inspired by and conducted in the wild. Over the past decades much of the research in this field has shifted to the laboratory, combining high-resolution tracking of individuals with mathematical simulations or agent-based models. Today we are beginning to see a 're-wilding' of collective behaviour thanks to technological advances, providing researchers with the opportunity to quantify and model the heterogeneity that exists within the social groupings they study and within the environments in which these groups live. The perspective we present here aims to inspire and steer this research toward answering fundamental and outstanding behavioural and ecological questions, while also tackling pertinent conservation challenges.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Ecol Evol

Publication Date





347 - 357


Behavioural ecology, bio-logging, remote monitoring, social behaviour