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Photo credit: Russell Fernald

Balancing between group and individual during ant cooperative transport

Ofer Feinerman

Department of Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Cooperative groups often exhibit capabilities that exceed those of their individual members. On the other hand, effects such as excessive conservatism can degrade group performance. This talk will present the conflict between the group and the individuals that comprise it in the context of cooperative load retrieval by longhorn crazy ants. This behavior relies on the group to exert a large enough force to move the large load but also on the individuals to navigate the motion.  We show how the ants utilize the physics of a phase transition to accentuate the advantages of both the individual and the group.

Image credit: Dr. Ehud Fonio
Image credit: Dr. Ehud Fonio





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