Biological aggregation patterns and the role of social interactions

Applied and Computational Mathematics Seminar
Monday, September 28, 2009 - 13:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 255
Macalester College
Biological aggregations such as insect swarms, bird flocks, and fish schools are arguably some of the most common and least understood patterns in nature. In this talk, I will discuss recent work on swarming models, focusing on the connection between inter-organism social interactions and properties of macroscopic swarm patterns. The first model is a conservation-type partial integrodifferential equation (PIDE). Social interactions of incompressible form lead to vortex-like swarms. The second model is a high-dimensional ODE description of locust groups. The statistical-mechanical properties of the attractive-repulsive social interaction potential control whether or not individuals form a rolling migratory swarm pattern similar to those observed in nature. For the third model, we again return to a conservation-type PIDE and, via long- and short-wave analysis, determine general conditions that social interactions must satisfy for the population to asymptotically spread, contract, or reach steady state.