Biological aggregation patterns and the role of social interactions

Applied and Computational Mathematics Seminar
Monday, September 28, 2009 - 1:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 255
Chad Topaz – Macalester College –
Maria Westdickenberg
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.