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Lack of synchronization: a key for collective systems robustness?

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  • UserProfessor Corina Tarnita (Princeton University)
  • ClockWednesday 15 September 2021, 16:00-17:00
  • HouseWebinar.

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Loners — individuals out of sync with a coordinated majority — occur frequently in nature, from microbial aggregates to locust swarms, from the wildebeest migration to bamboo flowering or cicada emergence. Are loners incidental byproducts of large-scale coordination attempts, or are they part of a mosaic of life-history strategies? I will draw on theoretical modeling and empirical evidence of naturally occurring heritable variation in loner behavior in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum to propose that imperfect coordination of collective behaviors might be adaptive by enabling diversification of life-history strategies. In particular, for D. discoideum, I will argue that loners are critical to understanding collective and social behaviors, multicellular development, and ecological dynamics.

This talk is part of the Theory of Living Matter Group series.

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