Collective dynamics and model verification: Connecting kinetic modeling to data

Multiscale dynamics of marching locust swarms

Gil Ariel

Bar Ilan University


A key question in the study of collective animal motion is how the details of animal locomotion and interaction between conspecifics affect the macroscopic dynamics of the hoard, flock or swarm. Motivated by lab experiments with marching locust nymphs we suggest a generic principle, in which intermittent animal motion can be considered as a sequence of individual decisions, in which animals repeatedly reassess their situation and decide whether or not to swarm. This interpretation implies, among other things, some generic characteristics regarding the build-up and emergence of collective order in swarms: in particular, that order and disorder are generic meta-stable states of the system, suggesting that the emergence of order is kinetic and does not necessarily require external environmental changes. Joint work with Yotam Ophir, Sagi Levi, Eshel Ben-Jacob and Amir Ayali.