Fluctuating environments drive insect swarms into a new state that is robust to perturbations

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Reynolds, A. M. 2018. Fluctuating environments drive insect swarms into a new state that is robust to perturbations. EPL. 124, p. 38001. https://doi.org/10.1209/0295-5075/124/38001

AuthorsReynolds, A. M.

In contrast with laboratory insect swarms, wild insect swarms display significant coordinated behaviour. Here it is hypothesised that the presence of a fluctuating environment drives the formation of transient, local order (synchronized subgroups), and that this local order pushes the swarm as a whole into a new state that is robust to environmental perturbations. The hypothesis finds support in a theoretical analysis and in an analysis of pre-existing telemetry data for swarming mosquitoes. I suggest that local order is sufficient to make swarms fault-tolerant and that the swarm state and structure may be tuneable with environmental noise as a control parameter. The new theory opens a window onto thermodynamic descriptions of swarm behaviours and extends a long-standing analogy with self-gravitating systems.

KeywordsInsect swarms
Year of Publication2018
Journal citation124, p. 38001
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1209/0295-5075/124/38001
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeBBSRC Strategic Programme in Smart Crop Protection
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright license
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online06 Dec 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted07 Nov 2018
PublisherIOP Publishing Ltd

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