Did You Know ?

Cooperation and competition

Cooperation and competition Service providers work better in pairs than alone, says S.Ananthanarayanan

The cost and quality of service depend both on the provider-client relation as well as the relation between the providers. The relations are typically exercises of each participant finding a strategy to optimize her own gain. The journal, Nature recently reported a study of how pairs of a species of fish cooperate while cleaning a client fish species of parasites, in a way that is best for all the players.

Symbiotic cleaners Wrasses are a family of bright coloured, smaller, marine fish that are marked by a jaw structure with separate jaw teeth that jut out. A group of them are the cleaner wrasses which provide a service to other fish by feeding on parasites and dead tissue in the clients’ mouths and gill cavities. Client fish are known to seek places where wrasses congregate, to seek ‘cleaner service’ and predator fish leave wrasses alone because of the latters’ value as cleaners. But the cleaners are not entirely benevolent, they also like to snatch a bit of healthy tissue and mucous, which is an extra charge the clients usually do not agree to pay! When a client fish is being cleaned by wrasses, it patiently allows its parasites and scales to be cleaned, till the cleaner takes a nip at healthy tissue. The client discourages this behaviour usually by swimming away – so that the feeding session ends for the cleaner. How soon a cleaner is likely to chance a ‘cheating bite’ and whether a cleaner behaves differently when working with a partner can be matters of mathematical study.

Marginal Value Theorem

This has to do with the strategy while plucking apples in an orchard. One method would be to pick just 2 apples from each tree and go on to the next. But this would be wasteful because a lot of time would be spent walking between trees. Another method would be to pick all the apples from a tree before going on to the next. This would not be so bright either, because the speed of getting apples falls as the tree gets depleted – and the last apples would take a long timwhen e to find. The ideal is somewhere in between, in fact, the time when time taken for picking an apple becomes equal to the time for walking to the next tree. In the case of cleaner wrasses, the cleaners find plenty of dead tissue and client parasites at the start of the cleaning. But a nip at the client itself would send the food away. The cleaner hence defers the tempting bite till the stock of dead tissue has grown thinner. And then, it would be better to take that bite, than to keep cleaning the client.

The prisoners’ dilemma

This classic game theory example is of 2 prisoners who are charged with a serious crime. But the police do not have enough evidence for conviction. So they put the prisoners in separate cells and make them an offer. If one of them confesses, while the other does not, the confessor goes free while the other gets 20 years. If both of them confess, they both get 1 year. But if neither confesses, they both go free. Here the safest individual strategy is to confess. This eliminates the risk of 20 years, the worst can be 1 year and the best is to go free. Hence, with rational, mathematically inclined prisoners, the police is likely to solve the crime. But if the prisoners belong to a cooperative and well indoctrinated community, they may both hold out and go free!

Variations of this game form the basis of many management programmes, to promote cooperation and trust among employees, managers and enterprises. It also becomes relevant when cleaner fish are working in pairs. There is an advantage for fish to work in pairs, because clients are likely to seek them out for faster service. But while the pair efficiently reduces the supply of scales and parasites, only one of them can take a bite of living tissue, for the client will fly and the other cleaner will be left hungry. Being the first to bite every time will induce the partner to leave and pair with another cleaner fish Hence, out of cooperation, each cleaner delays taking the bite and the client reaps the benefit.

Field trials Redouan Bshary and colleagues at Neuchatel, Switzerland checked this out in field observations at Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt and aquarium experiments with the fish Labroidus dimidiatus and its client reef fish. The results showed that the ‘client jolt rate’ (response to cheating bites) was significantly less in the case of cleaning in pairs than when cleaner fish act alone. Wrasses generally work in male-female pairs and it was found that the increased cooperative behaviour, or feeding contrary to preference, when working in pairs, was in the female, rather than the male. “Females caused significantly less jolts when inspecting in a pair than when inspecting alone, whereas there was only a trend in the same direction for males”, say the researchers in their paper.

[the writer can be contacted at simplescience@gmail.com]


Bird Survey 2010

Kanwar B Singh invites you to "Harike Sanctuary Bird Survey 2010" on Saturday, January 30 at 12:00pm.

Event: Harike Sanctuary Bird Survey 2010 "First Bird Survey of this Ramsar site." Start Time: Saturday, January 30 at 12:00pm

 End Time: Tuesday, February 2 at 12:00pm

Where: Harike Bird Sanctuary

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below: http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=221387503035&mid=19ec6afG2011ee94G4856210G7


 Kahini Ghosh Mehta invites you to "Corbett Photpgraphy Workshop - Jan 23-25, 2010" on Saturday, January 23 at 10:45am.

Kahini says, "Corbett photography workshop... Please block your calendars...".

Event: Corbett Photpgraphy Workshop - Jan 23-25, 2010

What: Camping Trip

Start Time: Saturday, January 23 at 10:45am

End Time: Monday, January 25 at 1:45pm

Where: Corbett Tiger Reserve

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below: http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=247067725691&mid=1a233e0G2011ee94G48b783aG7



Kanha National Park

Dear Visitors

(An Appeal from Kanha -written by Suhas Kumar)

Let the tiger be the master of the jungle

Not a slave of man

 There are lot many creatures here

Plants, birds and beasts, frogs and reptiles

 Beautiful insects and butterflies

 They make the jungle live

 And that is why, it is here that the tigers thrive.

 In vistas heavenly and sublime


 To immerse yourselves in the MAGIC that Kanha has to offer

You will be a different man, woman and child

When you go back home with the memories of this



I know,

Your desire to see a wild tiger Is very strong

But perhaps you don’t know

 Keeping tigers at bay for you is wrong

When you see a tiger from elephant back

Surrounded by gawking tourists and numerous Elephants, jeeps and cars

You may get Thrilled once.

 But when you would return

You would feel very sad for the master who is now a slave

Of man’s caprice and greed.

 Let the TIGER’S freedom prevail

He will show up near you when would feel

The tiger is a beast of free will

 Why force him to behave otherwise to serve man’s thrill

Kanha is not a zoo where tigers walk behind bar but a land


And here tigers roam wide and far

Let it be that grand and engross yourself in this fascinating LAND.


 - Suhas Kumar 24.2.2009

 If you are not able to play the embedded clip on Kanha, by Dr.Susan Sharma See it by clicking on the link below



Web Page

IndianWildlifeClub in Competition!

Your website has been entered into a competition called “We Media Pitch It Challenge” –How can we use media to inspire a better world?

The finalists will be announced on 3rd February 2010. Given below is the link of the online entry. Comments by the IWC community are welcome.


You can add the comments/suggestions on the entry itself. If you are unable to do so, please send them by email to susan_sharma@hotmail.com

Here is what IWC members had to say about the Club in the past!

Anantha Narayanan | Jan 20, 2009

 I feel welcome and among friends in this website. It directly talks about animals, plants and the environment. It does not frighten the visitor with technology. It stays exactly what it promises to be - a meeting place for persons concerned with the environment - as represented by the diverse species that inhabit it. I find valuable information in this site and I feel inspired by the joy with which other members have posted articles, reports and bits of news on the site. I am no wildlife specialist, my interest is in making science available to lay persons. So I send to this site those of my pieces, all which deal basically with some scientific principle or discovery, which relate to animals, plants or the environment. I feel validated when I receive e-mail responses from members of this site. The monthly chat sessions are anchored by a specialist in the subject being covered and the participants are personally interested in the subject. The proceedings are, naturally, rich and cover the subject from many angles. But even if one cannot make it at the time and date of the chats, one can log on to the website at any time and it is time well spent!

Ashish Shah | Jan 21, 2009

Hand holding and networking to protect wildlife

Ashish Shah Environment Educator

Indianwildlifeclub.com is the appropriate forum to share, discuss and cultivate your interests and knowledge about the wildlife in India. As an environment educator I recommend the site to many people who come in contact with me with an interest in wildlife. The club is an excellent tool for amateur people who are interested in cultivating further their nascent interest in wildlife of India. The online club helps new members to network with the experienced people. This encourages them to pursue their interest in wildlife and enhances their knowledge. The network of people with the Indian wildlife club forms persuasive and powerful lobby that works at legislative level to put in place laws for protection of wildlife in India. This is a very important part considering the kind of democracy we have in India.

 Ajit Seshadri | Jan 21, 2009

Apt communication to make aware and participate

We are from an Ngo- The Vigyan Vijay Foundation- www.vigyanvijay.org, have been associated with Youth for Environment- programs. This web site of Indian Wildlife club, has been helpful to our youth and also have given us an opportunity to discuss with specialists in varied fields, who can make a difference in this developing world. This website is very friendly and all of us can do the chat easily on burning issues. Such communication is welcome for youth and also environmental and wild life enthusiasts. Hence all of us ably support and keep the pro-active information flowing. We give our well wishes to the Indian Wildlife Team and keep up the good work. One suggestion I have, there is a demand for Hindi speakers to enroll, how can they do it..pl do think on these lines. because once we get Hindi-chat then the group will be very large.

 Once again well wishes from VigyanVijay

 AjitSeshadri The Vigyan Vijay Foundation

 Thomas Chacko | Jan 21, 2009

 Down to earth through the net

 Yes, that is the way you can see the Indian Wildlife club. A place for promoting a down to earth topic of wild life through us of information technology. It offers the educated thinking Indians a place to guide the emergence of India; a country that once was a cradle of civilization, now "developing" to catch up with the advanced countries. But a vast country cannot develop so fast like smaller nations in Asia like Korea and Singapore. India is a world in itself, and the present day economic development needs balance with the country's geography and demography. Wild life may be a hobby for the developed world citizen. But it is a basic need for a large number of rural Indians; their survival is knowingly or unknowingly linked to that. In a changing India, where the youth looks to city life as the equivalent of 'development', a community for spreading and practicing awareness on the core realities like wild life is a must. The best place to promote and practice it over the web, which is the emerging platform for communication for the children/youth who form more than 50% of the one billion Indian populations. It is soon going to be true that the young Indians would have known or seen the rest of his country, its flora and fauna over the wide spreading internet connection than in reality. Fascination will next make him travel and see and enjoy what he saw virtually. On such a broad landscape, the Indian wild life club needs support and encouragement from all the world "netizens".

Sanjay Kaul | Jan 21, 2009

A site for sore eyes!

While I get to work with a number of activists and NGOs in almost every sphere of governance, Dr. Susan Sharma's efforts at connecting ordinary people with the lost domain of wildlife [and indeed conservation] through the internet is a sublime representation of what is possible within the realm of a virtual world with silent persistence and deep commitment. Although personally interested in environment and nature, I admit that it would be well nigh impossible for people like me to garner enough time or indeed motivation to actually step out and take the tour or indulge in this luxury we so often want. The Indian Wild Life Club steps in to fill in the blanks and provides a wonderfully insightful, involving mechanism to do just that. It is possible that for a number of people - children and adults alike - the experience of pristine wildlife and its manifestations may actually only be limited to Dr. Susan Sharma's site - and while that looks like a pity, one has to be thankful to her for it.... Also: having attended one of the club's meetings last year and the filled to capacity auditorium as the seminar and film show got on, I am more than convinced about its relevance and interest for people like us. 

 Sanjay Kaul


People's Action New Delhi, INDIA

 R Agarwala | Jan 22, 2009

 Increasing awareness

The website connects many like minded people and also exposes others to why we need to conserve and preserve nature. It is important that such kind of efforts by a group of individuals is further bolstered so that they reach out to more and more persons in their effort.

Annie Mathew | Jan 22, 2009

Many of us love flora and fauna

Many of us love flora and fauna but have neither the time nor the opportunity to experience it. Indian Wildlife Club helps ordinary people like me to connect with the vast heritage of wild life in India easily and simply through the Internet. The information available on this site is both valuable and inspiring and covers a wide range of subjects. Kudos to Dr. Susan Sharma for creating such an eye-opening and fascinating website.

 jayanth sharma | Jan 23, 2009

 Wild Bytes

The IWC is good because it brings us face to face or screen to screen with different experts on ecology, be they birders, park rangers, eminent conservers, wildlife lawyers etc. The Club has good interactive features that enable the common man to learn some basic things like how to compost at home, identifying bird calls, and general updates on Indian wildlife news and policies.

Amin Adatia | Jan 24, 2009

Raising Awareness is the Key

Indian Wildlife Club provides the opportunity to learn and teach about the conservation of wild life and the issues associated with unplanned tourism development.

Mohan Ranganathan | Jan 24, 2009

Community of Practice for nature lovers

The Indian Wildlife Club web site reveals the passion, steadfastness, seriousness, sense of purpose, depth and focus of an individual who has tried to make people aware of all things connected with Mother Nature in general and Indian wild life in particular. It has provided very good opportunity to interested and like-minded people to get ideas and opinions together for a common cause. It is relevant to note that the approach to whole thing is holistic and every facet of the problem is touched upon in this site. This site provides information suitable for a whole gamut of interested persons, be it a beginner or an enthusiast

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