An equation of state for insect swarms

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Sinhuber, M., Van der Vaart, K., Yenchia, F., Reynolds, A. M. and Ouellette, N.T. 2021. An equation of state for insect swarms. Scientific Reports. 11 (3773).

AuthorsSinhuber, M., Van der Vaart, K., Yenchia, F., Reynolds, A. M. and Ouellette, N.T.

Collective behaviour in flocks, crowds, and swarms occurs throughout the biological world. Animal groups are generally assumed to be evolutionarily adapted to robustly achieve particular functions, so there is widespread interest in exploiting collective behaviour for bio-inspired engineering. However, this requires understanding the precise properties and function of groups, which remains a challenge. Here, we demonstrate that collective groups can be described in a thermodynamic framework. We define an appropriate set of state variables and extract an equation of state for laboratory midge swarms. We then drive swarms through “thermodynamic” cycles via external stimuli, and show that our equation of state holds throughout. Our findings demonstrate a new way of precisely quantifying the nature of collective groups and provide a cornerstone for potential future engineering design.

KeywordsInsects; Swarms; Collective behaviour; Modelling; Insect swarms; Trajectory data
Year of Publication2021
JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation11 (3773)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBBSRC Industrial Strategy Challenge
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeBBSRC Strategic Programme in Smart Crop Protection
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online12 Feb 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted29 Jan 2021
PublisherNature Publishing Group

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