Collective Animal Behaviour

Abstract Understanding collective action in biological processes is a central challenge, essential for achieving progress in a variety of fields including the coordinated communication among cells, or animals, to the dynamics of information exchange among sophisticated organisms, and the emergence of complex societies. Consequently the study of collective behavior naturally spans scales, from how neural circuits control individual behavior in a social context, to the analogous issue of determining the structure and function of the communication network among organisms that gives rise to emergent group, and population-level, behavior.

We seek multiple PhD candidates to join our highly international, collaborative and interdisciplinary research group to investigating the behaviour and evolution of collective animal behavior in the lab and/or field. We are interested in both invertebrates (e.g. locusts) and vertebrates (e.g. fish, birds) and those applicants who wish to apply and/or develop modern technologies (e.g. in automated tracking, virtual reality, GPS, drone-based imaging, machine learning, neurobiology, genetics, computational modeling) to understand how animals sense their world and make decisions in the face of uncertainty and risk.

Given the broad nature of this search it will be extremely helpful if applicants can clearly state what excites them about collective animal behaviour, and what they may want to work on. Our positions are fully funded for 4 years to allow students time to develop their own ideas and to follow ambitious and creative research directions.

Keywords swarm, schooling, behavior, information, fish, locusts, tracking, computer vision, virtual reality, self-organization, decision-making, individual differences, evolution

Main adviser Iain Couzin, MPIO, Konstanz

Interested in this PhD project? Apply here!

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