Stochastic modeling of bacterial swarming

Mark Alber
University of Notre Dame

Swarming, a collective motion of many thousands of cells, produces colonies that rapidly spread over surfaces. In this talk a detailed cell- and behavior-based stochastic model of M. xanthus swarming will be used to show that reversals of gliding direction are essential for swarming and that the reversal period predicted to maximize the swarming rate is the same as the period observed in experiments [1,2]. This suggests that the circuit regulating reversals evolved to its current sensitivity under selection for growth achieved by swarming. Also, an orientation correlation function will be used to show that microscopic social interactions help to form the ordered collective motion observed in swarms.

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