Ergodic directional switching in mobile insect groups

Carlos Escudero, Christian A. Yates, Jerome Buhl, Iain D. Couzin, Radek Erban, Ioannis G. Kevrekidis, Philip K. Maini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We obtain a Fokker-Planck equation describing experimental data on the collective motion of locusts. The noise is of internal origin and due to the discrete character and finite number of constituents of the swarm. The stationary probability distribution shows a rich phenomenology including nonmonotonic behavior of several order and disorder transition indicators in noise intensity. This complex behavior arises naturally as a result of the randomness in the system. Its counterintuitive character challenges standard interpretations of noise induced transitions and calls for an extension of this theory in order to capture the behavior of certain classes of biologically motivated models. Our results suggest that the collective switches of the group's direction of motion might be due to a random ergodic effect and, as such, they are inherent to group formation. © 2010 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 29 2010
Externally publishedYes


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