Quantitative Ecology/Ethology/Evolution


Thursday, March 25, 2021, 4:30pm to 5:30pm



"The Ecology of Collective Behavior" with Deborah Gordon, Stanford University.

"The Ecology of Collective Behavior" with Deborah Gordon, Stanford University. 

Collective behavior operates without central control, using local interactions among participants to allow groups to respond to changing conditions. It is widespread in nature, not only producing the coordinated movement of bird flocks or fish schools, but also regulating activity in natural systems from cells, as in cancer metastasis or embryonic development, to the social groups of many vertebrates. An ecological perspective on collective behavior examines how collective behavior adjusts to changing environments. Ant colonies function collectively, and the enormous diversity of more than 14K species of ants, in different habitats, provides opportunities to look for general ecological patterns. Modeling tools from dynamical systems, control theory and distributed algorithms show how local interactions produce the collective foraging behavior of harvester ants in the desert, and generate the trail networks of turtle ants in the tropical forest. These examples suggest how systems with similar dynamics in their surroundings have evolved to show similar dynamics in their collective behavior.

Register in advance.

Contact: itolkova@g.harvard.edu