Math Biology Seminar: Andrew Bernoff

  • Date: 03/07/2018
  • Time: 15:15
Andrew Bernoff, Harvey Mudd College

University of British Columbia


Agent-Based and Continuous Models of Locust Hopper Bands: The Role of Intermittent Motion, Alignment and Attraction


Locust swarms pose a major threat to agriculture, notably in North Africa and the Middle East. In the early stages of aggregation, locusts form hopper bands. These are coordinated groups that march in columnar structures that are often kilometers long and may contain millions of individuals. We propose a model for the formation of locust hopper bands that incorporates intermittent motion, alignment with neighbors, and social attraction, all behaviors that have been validated in experiments. Using a particle-in-cell computational method, we simulate swarms of up to a million individuals, which is several orders of magnitude larger than what has previously appeared in the locust modeling literature. We observe hopper bands in this model forming as a fingering instability. Our model also allows homogenization to yield a system of partial integro-differential evolution equations. We identify a bifurcation from a uniform marching state to columnar structures, suggestive of the formation of hopper bands.

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Location: ESB 4127