From Democratic Consensus to Cannibalistic Hordes: The Principles of Collective Behavior

SpeakerDr. Iain Couzin
Organization Princeton University
LocationEBII 1230
DateApril 11, 2014 12:50 PM


A fundamental problem in a wide range of biological disciplines is understanding how complexity at a macroscopic scale results from the actions and interactions among the individual components. Animal groups such as bird flocks, fish schools and insect swarms frequently exhibit complex and coordinated collective behaviors and present unrivaled opportunities to link the behavior of individuals with the functioning and efficiency of dynamic group-level properties. Using an integrated experimental and theoretical approach, involving both insects and vertebrates (including humans), I will address both how, and why, animals coordinate behavior.


Dr. Iain Couzin is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, where he manages the Couzin Lab. Previously he was Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, and Junior Research Fellow in the Sciences at Balliol College, Oxford. His work aims to reveal the fundamental principles that underlie evolved collective behavior, and consequently his research includes the study of a wide range of biological systems, from brain tumors to insect swarms, fish schools and human crowds. In recognition of his research he was recipient of a Searle Scholar Award in 2008, the Mohammed Dahleh Award in 2009, Popular Science Magazines "Brilliant 10″ award in 2010, PopTech Science and Public Leadership award in 2011 and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award in 2012.

  April 2014
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