Ergodic directional switching in mobile insect groups

Carlos Escudero, Christian A. Yates, Jerome Buhl, Iain D. Couzin, Radek Erban, Ioannis G. Kevrekidis, Philip K. Maini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We obtain a Fokker-Planck equation describing experimental data on the collective motion of locusts. The noise is of internal origin and due to the discrete character and finite number of constituents of the swarm. The stationary probability distribution shows a rich phenomenology including nonmonotonic behavior of several order and disorder transition indicators in noise intensity. This complex behavior arises naturally as a result of the randomness in the system. Its counterintuitive character challenges standard interpretations of noise induced transitions and calls for an extension of this theory in order to capture the behavior of certain classes of biologically motivated models. Our results suggest that the collective switches of the group's direction of motion might be due to a random ergodic effect and, as such, they are inherent to group formation. © 2010 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 29 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUK-C1-013-04
Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to David Sumpter for useful comments and discussions. This work was supported by the Oxford-Princeton Research Partnership grant. C.E. acknowledges support by the MICINN (Spain) through Project No. MTM2008-03754. C.A.Y. thanks EPSRC for funding via the Systems Biology Doctoral Training Centre, University of Oxford. J.B. was funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage and Discovery programs. I.D.C. acknowledges support from the Searle Scholars Program (Grant No. 08-SPP-201), National Science Foundation (Grant No. PHY0848755), Office of Naval Research (Grant No. N00014-091-1074) and a DARPA Grant (Grant No. HR0011-05-10057). This publication was based on work (R.E.) supported in part by Award No. KUK-C1-013-04, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); R. E. also thanks Somerville College, Oxford for support. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. 239870. I.G.K. was partially supported by the AFOSR. P.K.M. was partially supported by the Royal Society.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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