Collective Dynamics of Laboratory Insect Swarms

Duke Physics Colloquium
Nick Ouellette (Yale)

** Please note this event is for Monday not Wednesday. **

"Collective Dynamics of Laboratory Insect Swarms"

Self-organized collective animal behavior--in swarms, flocks, schools, herds, or crowds--is ubiquitous throughout the animal kingdom. In part because it is so generic, it has engaged and fascinated scientists from many disciplines, from biology to physics to engineering. But despite this broad interest, little empirical data exists for real animals; modelers have therefore been forced to settle for only qualitative large-scale information or to make ad hoc assumptions about the low-level inter-individual interactions. To address this dearth of data, we have conducted a laboratory study of swarms of the non-biting midge Chironomus riparius. Using multicamera stereoimaging and three-dimensional particle tracking, we measure the trajectories and kinematics of each individual insect in the swarm, and study their statistics and interactions. I will give an overview of our measurements, including the statistical mechanics of the swarm as a whole and the behavior of individual insects, and will discuss some of the implications of our results for modeling.

Faculty Host: Bob Behringer

Refreshments will be served after the Colloquium in room 128.

Monday, February 17, 2014 - 3:30pm
location: 
Physics 128
contact: 
Paul, Cristin
660-2491