Iain Couzin Iain Couzin Keynotes

Iain Couzin's keynotes focus on the fascinating world of wildlife and ecology. As an assistant...

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Iain Couzin Debunks The Myth That Locusts Cooperate as a Group

By: John Ibbitson - Published: Dec 31, 2011 • References: icouzin.princeton.edu and youtube
In this keynote, Iain Couzin demonstrates research to the attendees on how swarms of locusts are wreaking havoc on countries that can’t afford to deal with the problem. Even more concerning is that during plague years these insects can “damage the livelihood of one tenth of the world’s population." Iain shows the audience, with the aid of videos and slides, that science hasn’t really been able to come up with a solution on how to best deal with the challenges that these pests pose to the countries affected because most research is done on individual insects, rather than on collectives of the species. By using technical innovations, Iain was able to study these collectives and found some surprising information; locusts don’t swarm for food as a result of animal collective behavior, but because they risk being consumed by one and other. In this insightful keynote, Iain Couzin educates the room with his research that he believes will help predict the likelihood of locust outbreaks in the future.