An equation of state for insect swarms.
2021; 11 (1): 3773
Collective behaviour in flocks, crowds, and swarms occurs throughout the biological world. Animal groups are generally assumed to be evolutionarily adapted to robustly achieve particular functions, so there is widespread interest in exploiting collective behaviour for bio-inspired engineering. However, this requires understanding the precise properties and function of groups, which remains a challenge. Here, we demonstrate that collective groups can be described in a thermodynamic framework. We define an appropriate set of state variables and extract an equation of state for laboratory midge swarms. We then drive swarms through "thermodynamic" cycles via external stimuli, and show that our equation of state holds throughout. Our findings demonstrate a new way of precisely quantifying the nature of collective groups and provide a cornerstone for potential future engineering design.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-021-83303-z
View details for PubMedID 33580191
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