CAM Colloquium: Jasper Weinburd (Harvey Mudd College) - Emergent patterns in locust hopper bands using agent-based and continuous models


Frank H. T. Rhodes Hall 655


Locusts are devastating pests that infest and destroy crops in regions of the world already afflicted by drought and food shortage. Hopper bands are groups of locusts composed of flightless nymphs that march and hop through their environment. These hopper bands take on distinctive shapes that appear to serve ecological processes for the collective swarm. How does individual locust behavior lead to these various shapes necessary for the swarm to cope with its current environment? We model this phenomenon using two approaches in tandem; an agent-based model that tracks individuals and a partial differential equation for the mean locust density. The agent-based model allows direct comparison to empirical data and captures the systems inherent stochasticity. The PDE provides a framework for theoretical analysis and allows extensive exploration of the modelā€™s sensitivity to changes in input parameters. In this talk, we discuss the effects of social forces and attraction to resources on the collective behavior of the band.

Dr. Jasper Weinburd received his PhD in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He is currently an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvey Mudd College. His research interests lie in dynamical systems and pattern formation, especially self-organization in nature. He hopes that contributing to the understanding of mechanisms that underlieĀ self-organization in natural systems may eventually lead to better strategies for decreasing human impact or increasing control. He engages undergraduates in his research whenever possible and is always excited to teach new students.