Professional Education

  • B.S., University of Science and Technology of China (2011)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University (2017)

All Publications

  • Costs and benefits of social relationships in the collective motion of bird flocks. Nature ecology & evolution Ling, H., Mclvor, G. E., van der Vaart, K., Vaughan, R. T., Thornton, A., Ouellette, N. T. 2019


    Current understanding of collective behaviour in nature is based largely on models that assume that identical agents obey the same interaction rules, but in reality interactions may be influenced by social relationships among group members. Here, we show that social relationships transform local interactions and collective dynamics. We tracked individuals' three-dimensional trajectories within flocks of jackdaws, a species that forms lifelong pair-bonds. Reflecting this social system, we find that flocks contain internal sub-structure, with discrete pairs of individuals tied together by spring-like effective forces. Within flocks, paired birds interacted with fewer neighbours than unpaired birds and flapped their wings more slowly, which may result in energy savings. However, flocks with more paired birds had shorter correlation lengths, which is likely to inhibit efficient information transfer through the flock. Similar changes to group properties emerge naturally from a generic self-propelled particle model. These results reveal a critical tension between individual- and group-level benefits during collective behaviour in species with differentiated social relationships, and have major evolutionary and cognitive implications.

    View details for PubMedID 31061474

  • Simultaneous measurements of three-dimensional trajectories and wingbeat frequencies of birds in the field. Journal of the Royal Society, Interface Ling, H., Mclvor, G. E., Nagy, G., MohaimenianPour, S., Vaughan, R. T., Thornton, A., Ouellette, N. T. 2018; 15 (147)


    Tracking the movements of birds in three dimensions is integral to a wide range of problems in animal ecology, behaviour and cognition. Multi-camera stereo-imaging has been used to track the three-dimensional (3D) motion of birds in dense flocks, but precise localization of birds remains a challenge due to imaging resolution in the depth direction and optical occlusion. This paper introduces a portable stereo-imaging system with improved accuracy and a simple stereo-matching algorithm that can resolve optical occlusion. This system allows us to decouple body and wing motion, and thus measure not only velocities and accelerations but also wingbeat frequencies along the 3D trajectories of birds. We demonstrate these new methods by analysing six flocking events consisting of 50 to 360 jackdaws (Corvus monedula) and rooks (Corvus frugilegus) as well as 32 jackdaws and 6 rooks flying in isolated pairs or alone. Our method allows us to (i) measure flight speed and wingbeat frequency in different flying modes; (ii) characterize the U-shaped flight performance curve of birds in the wild, showing that wingbeat frequency reaches its minimum at moderate flight speeds; (iii) examine group effects on individual flight performance, showing that birds have a higher wingbeat frequency when flying in a group than when flying alone and when flying in dense regions than when flying in sparse regions; and (iv) provide a potential avenue for automated discrimination of bird species. We argue that the experimental method developed in this paper opens new opportunities for understanding flight kinematics and collective behaviour in natural environments.

    View details for PubMedID 30355809

  • Effect of Reynolds number and saturation level on gas diffusion in and out of a superhydrophobic surface PHYSICAL REVIEW FLUIDS Ling, H., Katz, J., Fu, M., Hultmark, M. 2017; 2 (12)
  • High-resolution velocity measurement in the inner part of turbulent boundary layers over super-hydrophobic surfaces JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS Ling, H., Srinivasan, S., Golovin, K., McKinley, G. H., Tuteja, A., Katz, J. 2016; 801: 670–703
  • Separating twin images and locating the center of a microparticle in dense suspensions using correlations among reconstructed fields of two parallel holograms APPLIED OPTICS Ling, H., Katz, J. 2014; 53 (27): G1–G11


    This paper deals with two issues affecting the application of digital holographic microscopy (DHM) for measuring the spatial distribution of particles in a dense suspension, namely discriminating between real and virtual images and accurate detection of the particle center. Previous methods to separate real and virtual fields have involved applications of multiple phase-shifted holograms, combining reconstructed fields of multiple axially displaced holograms, and analysis of intensity distributions of weakly scattering objects. Here, we introduce a simple approach based on simultaneously recording two in-line holograms, whose planes are separated by a short distance from each other. This distance is chosen to be longer than the elongated trace of the particle. During reconstruction, the real images overlap, whereas the virtual images are displaced by twice the distance between hologram planes. Data analysis is based on correlating the spatial intensity distributions of the two reconstructed fields to measure displacement between traces. This method has been implemented for both synthetic particles and a dense suspension of 2 μm particles. The correlation analysis readily discriminates between real and virtual images of a sample containing more than 1300 particles. Consequently, we can now implement DHM for three-dimensional tracking of particles when the hologram plane is located inside the sample volume. Spatial correlations within the same reconstructed field are also used to improve the detection of the axial location of the particle center, extending previously introduced procedures to suspensions of microscopic particles. For each cross section within a particle trace, we sum the correlations among intensity distributions in all planes located symmetrically on both sides of the section. This cumulative correlation has a sharp peak at the particle center. Using both synthetic and recorded particle fields, we show that the uncertainty in localizing the axial location of the center is reduced to about one particle's diameter.

    View details for DOI 10.1364/AO.53.0000G1

    View details for Web of Science ID 000342000900002

    View details for PubMedID 25322116