Math/Stats Colloquium: Jasper Weinburd, Hamline University
Title: Collective Behavior in Locust Swarms from Differential Equations to Data
Abstract: Locusts are devastating pests that infest and destroy crops. Locusts forage and migrate in large swarms which exhibit distinctive shapes that improve efficiency on the group level, a phenomenon known as collective behavior. One of the difficulties in understanding and preventing these collective behaviors has been a lack of biological data for individual interactions between locusts. In this talk, I’ll first describe mathematical models for these phenomena on both the collective and individual levels. I’ll then discuss a collaboration with undergraduate students that use field data derived from video footage of locust swarms. We digitized nearly 20,000 locust trajectories and revealed individual behaviors that depend on a locust’s motion and the relative position of its nearby neighbors. Finally, I will illustrate the challenges and potential benefits of incorporating these field observations into our models of locust swarms.