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    April 26th – Deborah Gordon, The ecology of collective behavior

    Neuroscience Seminar Series

    Friday, April 26th. 2019, 11:30 am, R229 (2rd Floor), Centre Universitaire des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Saints Pères, 75006 Paris

    Deborah Gordon, Professor, Stanford University, CA, USA

    Title: The ecology of collective behaviour


    Like many biological systems, an ant colony operates without central control. Each ant responds to its interactions with other ants nearby. In the aggregate, these stochastic, dynamical networks of interaction regulate colony behavior

    Ants are extremely diverse, and species differences in collective behavior reflect relations with diverse environments. A long-term study of desert seed-eating ants shows how colonies regulate foraging activity according to food availability and humidity, and how natural selection is shaping collective behavior in current drought conditions. In the tropical arboreal turtle ant, trail networks respond to the distribution and stability of resources.

    The algorithms that generate collective behavior have evolved feedback regimes that fit the dynamics of particular environments. Examples from ants provide a starting point for examining more generally the fit between the particular pattern of interaction that regulates collective behavior, and the environment in which it functions. There are interesting analogies with the diverse functions of neural systems. 

    Host: Claude Meunier