The role of hydrodynamics in collective motions of fish schools and bioinspired underwater robots

Hungtang Ko, George Lauder, Radhika Nagpal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Collective behaviour defines the lives of many animal species on the Earth. Underwater swarms span several orders of magnitude in size, from coral larvae and krill to tunas and dolphins. Agent-based algorithms have modelled collective movements of animal groups by use of social forces, which approximate the behaviour of individual animals. But details of how swarming individuals interact with the fluid environment are often under-examined. How do fluid forces shape aquatic swarms? How do fish use their flow-sensing capabilities to coordinate with their schooling mates? We propose viewing underwater collective behaviour from the framework of fluid stigmergy, which considers both physical interactions and information transfer in fluid environments. Understanding the role of hydrodynamics in aquatic collectives requires multi-disciplinary efforts across fluid mechanics, biology and biomimetic robotics. To facilitate future collaborations, we synthesize key studies in these fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20230357
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number207
StatePublished - Oct 25 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


  • collective behaviour
  • fish school
  • fluid mechanics
  • fluid stigmergy


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of hydrodynamics in collective motions of fish schools and bioinspired underwater robots'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this