Collective Animal Behavior

Iain Couzin
University of Oxford

Our research focuses on understanding collective behavior; how large-scale biological patterns result from the actions and interactions of the individual components of a system. We study self-organised pattern formation in a wide range of biological systems, including ants, fish schools, bird flocks, locust / cricket swarms and human crowds.

Areas of particular interest include:

• How the movement of, and interactions among, individuals produces the dynamics of the population they make up.

• Collective decision-making in groups.

• The spread, and use, of information in animal populations (information transmission across dynamic networks; social learning).

• Creating computer models (mostly individual-based) to elucidate the relationship between biological pattern forming processes over a range of spatial and temporal scales.

• Developing computer vision software to record and analyse the movement and behaviour of a large number (hundreds) of organisms (e.g. insects, fish) concurrently.

• Applying biologically-inspired algorithms to technological applications.

Audio (MP3 File, Podcast Ready)

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