Swarming, flocking and shoaling

Migration by Don McCullough

Migration by Don McCullough


Poster for Prof. Matthew S Turner

Poster for Prof. Matthew S Turner

April’s talk will be given by Prof. Matthew S Turner of the Department of Physics, University of Warwick.

Interactions between social animals can lead to “emergent” collective behavior that cannot be inferred by studying any one individual. Such interactions can be very powerful. Indeed, they can be said to have led to the emergence of human civilization. In other species social behaviour is manifested in swarms of insects, flocks of birds and shoals of fish. In this talk I will discuss what we know about this behaviour, which is surprisingly little, and propose some new ideas for how it could emerge in the absence of any leader(s) to give instructions. Although there may be applications in swarm robotics, pest control and animal conservation, this talk will focus on the basic science of understanding a fascinating & widespread, but poorly understood, natural phenomenon.