We analyse a research paper: Brierley, A. S., and M. J. Cox. 2010. “Shapes of krill swarms and fish schools emerge as aggregation members avoid predators and access oxygen.”
Problem: schools and swarms have a highly undulating shape. Is there a reason?
The trade-off is in the title.
Parameter “external source of harm” The aggregation members must avoid predators; the safest place is in the middle of the aggregation
Parameter “net energy available to object” Members of the aggregation must go to the outer edge to access oxygen but they will then become exposed to predation.
The paper then reveals the factors that induce the animals to adopt strange shapes for the swarm. The more detailed application of the Inventive Principles is quoted from the sub-classes of the BioMimetic Ontology
Inventive Principle: “consolidate” (form a swarm or group) Be part of a large assemblage.
Inventive Principle: “functional reversal” (change from predictable to chaotic) Behave in a random manner
Inventive Principle: “prepare a defence” (develop a defensive surface structure)
Inventive Principle: “divide object or process into segments” (methods for subdivision of a surface) The surface of the swarm is highly irregular, giving more surface area and protection in the pockets of the shape.
We can now assemble:
A database of biological trade-offs, their Parameters and Inventive Principles
We now need to work out . . .
. . . how to use the database. The answer is – the BioMimetic Ontology.