The blog

Data-Driven Modeling of Collective Behavior and Emergent Phenomena in Biology (DDM-Bio) - June 5-7, 2017

The SwarmLab is happy to announce the workshop on “Data-Driven Modeling of Collective Behavior and Emergent Phenomena in Biology” (#DDMBio) to be held at SAMSI (Research Triangle Park, NC), June 5-7, 2017. Description Collective behavior and emergent phenomena often arise in complex adaptive systems. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie such processes is simultaneously challenging and important to developments in engineering, technology, and advancing basic knowledge in the science of biological systems. This collaborative workshop is targeted for researchers and students with research interests in collective behavior and emergent phenomena in biology and its applications. The... Read more.

Date: December 14, 2016 | Categories: blog

We're Hiring! Tenure track position in "Organismic Function, from Behavior to Ecology​"

As part of an ongoing expansion, the Department of Biological Sciences at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is looking to fill one or two new tenure-track faculty positions at the Assistant Professor level, beginning in 2017. We seek applicants with an interest and established record in bridging levels from systems or organismic function to behavior or ecology. Research areas can include - but are not limited to - ethology, microbiology, functional ecology, or evolution. Candidates will be expected to maintain an active, funded research program, supervise graduate students, and contribute to the overall success of the... Read more.

Date: October 5, 2016 | Categories: blog

We're Hiring! Tenure track position in "Cell Biology, Physiology, Systems or Organismic Function​"

As part of an ongoing expansion, the Department of Biological Sciences at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is looking to fill one or two new tenure-track faculty positions at the Assistant Professor level, beginning in 2017. We seek applicants with an interest and established record in bridging levels from cell biology or physiology, to systems or organismic function. Research areas can include - but are not limited to - neurobiology, ethology, evolution, or development. Candidates will be expected to maintain an active, funded research program, supervise graduate students, and contribute to the overall success of the... Read more.

Date: October 5, 2016 | Categories: blog

Decision-making without a brain - Our new paper in Interface

How do organisms without brains make decisions? Most of life is brainless and the vast majority of organisms on Earth lack neurons altogether. Plants, fungi and bacteria must all cope with the same problem as humans – to make the best choices in a complex and ever-changing world or risk dying – without the help of a simple nervous system in many cases. Our lab in collaboration with Richard Mann (University of Leeds), James Marshall (University of Sheffield) and Tanya Latty (University of Sydney) recently studied this problem in the unicellular slime mold, Read more.

Date: June 19, 2016 | Categories: blog

Lens of Time - Slime Lapse

Our work on slime mold was recently featured in a mini-documentary by Spine Films for bioGraphic, a new multimedia magazine produced by the California Academy of Sciences. Read more.

Date: June 12, 2016 | Categories: blog

David Hughes' lecture at NJIT

David Hughes from Penn State will be our guest Tuesday, March 29. His lab has a fascinating research program, exploring the relationship between disease and behavior. In particular, their work focuses on understanding how and why parasites manipulate their host behavior, and on the role behavior plays in disease transmission. During his visit, David will also deliver a lecture as part of the weekly colloquium series of the Federated Department of Biology at NJIT and Rutgers-Newark. See below for the details on David’s talk and a video introducing the theme of his lecture. Title: Zombie... Read more.

Date: March 28, 2016 | Categories: blog

videoplayR v0.3 is out!

The people who know me a bit are very much aware of the fact that I am an avid R user AND proselyte. I perform all my data processing and visualization in R; I write reports and presentations in R; I even write R packages just for the pleasure of doing it (for instance, I created the editR package essentially to see how easy it would be to build a complete web-application with R. Hint: it’s not as hard as I thought it would be). While R is serving me very well, it always had one big... Read more.

Date: September 10, 2015 | Categories: blogr

Richard Feynman had a thing for ants

Portrait of Richard Feynman - © The Nobel Foundation, 1965 Today is the day Lisa flies to Africa for a couple months of field work. Among other things she will outfit local goats with GPS collars coupled with small microphones, that she just spent a month and a half patiently building in Swansea, where the SHOAL group of our collaborator Andrew King resides. While in the train toward London Heathrow, she overheard a dad reading a story to his son, a... Read more.

Date: August 8, 2015 | Categories: blog

Postdoctoral position available

We are currently seeking a postdoctoral researcher to lead: the development and testing of spatially explicit models of criminal activities; the production of a forecasting software application to provide decision support for policing. This is a 1+1 year position (funding in the 2nd year will depend on progress in the 1st year) based out of Newark, New Jersey. This position is supported by a Rutgers-Newark Initiative for Multidisciplinary Research Teams (IMRT) award and is expected to be extended beyond the 2 year initial period through local and federal funding. The successful... Read more.

Date: July 1, 2015 | Categories: blog

A new website!

The Swarm Lab will be 3 year old tomorrow, July 1st, 2015. To celebrate the event, I decided to redo our website from scratch. It has now a new interface and, more importantly, a new backend. Goodbye Wordpress, and hello Jekyll!!! I have wanted to make this move for a long time now. Wordpress has served me very well for many years but I have grown increasingly frustrated with a number of things it does and things it cannot do. And while Jekyll might not be for... Read more.

Date: June 30, 2015 | Categories: blog

#SlimeLapseGallery - Episode 5

If you’ve ever watched a slime mold move, you have more patience (and spare time) than I do. If you prefer ‘real action’ over ‘real time’, then #SlimeLapseGallery is the place for you. Brought to you by the SwarmLab, see all the best timelapse videos of slime mold, from the web and from our lab. Episode 5: Slime mold in its natural habitat Today’s #SlimeLapseGallery video shows a slime mold - probably the ‘dog vomit’ slime mold, Fuligo septica - moving up a log from the forest floor over 5 hours. The pulsating behavior... Read more.

Date: May 2, 2015 | Categories: blogslimelapsegallery

#SlimeLapseGallery - Episode 4

If you’ve ever watched a slime mold move, you have more patience (and spare time) than I do. If you prefer ‘real action’ over ‘real time’, then #SlimeLapseGallery is the place for you. Brought to you by the SwarmLab, see all the best timelapse videos of slime mold, from the web and from our lab. Episode 4: The collective slug The SwarmLab’s slime mold of choice is the acellular (or plasmodial) slime mold Physarum polycephalum. The ‘acellular’ indicates that this slime mold is a single cell, and the macroscopic creature you see is not composed of... Read more.

Date: April 2, 2015 | Categories: blogslimelapsegallery

#SlimeLapseGallery - Episode 3

If you’ve ever watched a slime mold move, you have more patience (and spare time) than I do. If you prefer ‘real action’ over ‘real time’, then #SlimeLapseGallery is the place for you. Brought to you by the SwarmLab, see all the best timelapse videos of slime mold, from the web and from our lab. Episode 3: The inner life of the slime mold Today’s #SlimeLapseGallery features a recent compilation of Physarum timelapse microscopy that I hadn’t seen before, highlighting several features of slime mold behavior, as well as the beauty of the organism itself.... Read more.

Date: March 2, 2015 | Categories: blogslimelapsegallery

#AntsVsTheWorld - Episode 3

Who doesn’t like ants? And who doesn’t like a good action movie? #AntsVsTheWorld brings the best of both worlds together. by featuring videos of ants fighting other creatures (including other ants). Episode 3: Army Ants vs. Scorpion For today’s episode, I present you my all time favorite ant species: the army ant Eciton burchellii. These near-blind, nomadic ants offer some of the most spectacular examples of collective hunting. They live in large colonies (on average 700,000 ants), and during their moving phase they can organize large hunting raids which may contain more than 200,000 workers collecting... Read more.

Date: March 1, 2015 | Categories: blogantsvstheworld

#SlimeLapseGallery - Episode 2

If you’ve ever watched a slime mold move, you have more patience (and spare time) than I do. If you prefer ‘real action’ over ‘real time’, then #SlimeLapseGallery is the place for you. Brought to you by the SwarmLab, see all the best timelapse videos of slime mold, from the web and from our lab. Episode 2: Outsmarting engineers since 2010 Today’s #SlimeLapseGallery entry continues with another brilliant experiment from Toshi’s lab, this time the brainchild of Atsushi Tero, culminating in an excellent Science paper. A sheet of agar (acting as a moist substrate... Read more.

Date: February 2, 2015 | Categories: blogslimelapsegallery

#AntsVsTheWorld - Episode 2

Who doesn’t like ants? And who doesn’t like a good action movie? #AntsVsTheWorld brings the best of both worlds together. by featuring videos of ants fighting other creatures (including other ants). Episode 2: Matabele Ants vs. Termite Soldiers For this second episode, we present you a classic: the attack of a termite colony by an ant colony narrated by David Attenborough in the BBC series “Life In The Undergrowth - Supersocieties”. Here, the protagonists are the African mound-building termites (Macrotermes sp.) and the Matabele ants (Pachycondyla analis). The Matabele ants “are named after the... Read more.

Date: February 1, 2015 | Categories: blogantsvstheworld

#SlimeLapseGallery - Episode 1

If you’ve ever watched a slime mold move, you have more patience (and spare time) than I do. If you prefer ‘real action’ over ‘real time’, then #SlimeLapseGallery is the place for you. Brought to you by the SwarmLab, see all the best timelapse videos of slime mold, from the web and from our lab. Episode 1: A maze-ing slime mold To start with a classic, we can’t go past this video from Toshiyuki Nakagaki’s lab and ground-breaking Nature paper of 2000. In the setup, a labyrinth maze is installed on an agar substrate by... Read more.

Date: January 2, 2015 | Categories: blogslimelapsegallery

#AntsVsTheWorld - Episode 1

Who doesn’t like ants? And who doesn’t like a good action movie? #AntsVsTheWorld brings the best of both worlds together. by featuring videos of ants fighting other creatures (including other ants). Episode 1: Jumping Jack Ants vs. Huntsman Spider «««< HEAD For the first post in this series, we present you a colony of jumping jack ants (Myrmecia pilosula) attacking a green bellied huntsman spider (Micrommata virescens) easily 10 times the size of each individual ants. But size does not matter when you have friends to help you and a powerful, venomous sting. =======... Read more.

Date: January 1, 2015 | Categories: blogantsvstheworld

R vs Python - Round 3

Text by: Simon Garnier (www.theswarmlab.com / @sjmgarnier) R code by: Simon Garnier (www.theswarmlab.com / @sjmgarnier) Python code by: Randy Olson (www.randalolson.com / @randal_olson) Document generated with RStudio, knitr, and pandoc. Python figures generated with iPython Notebook. Foreword My friend Randy Olson and I got into the habit to argue about the relative qualities of our favorite languages for data analysis and visualization. I am an enthusiastic R user (www.r-project.org) while Randy is a fan of Python (www.python.org). One thing we agree on however is that... Read more.

Date: February 5, 2014 | Categories: blogrvspythonr

R vs Python - Round 2 (2/2)

Text by: Simon Garnier (www.theswarmlab.com / @sjmgarnier) R code by: Simon Garnier (www.theswarmlab.com / @sjmgarnier) Python code by: Randy Olson (www.randalolson.com / @randal_olson) Document generated with RStudio, knitr, and pandoc. Python figures generated with iPython Notebook. Foreword My friend Randy Olson and I got into the habit to argue about the relative qualities of our favorite languages for data analysis and visualization. I am an enthusiastic R user (www.r-project.org) while Randy is a fan of Python (www.python.org). One thing we agree on however is that... Read more.

Date: February 2, 2014 | Categories: blogrvspythonr

R vs Python - Round 2 (1/2)

Text by: Simon Garnier (www.theswarmlab.com / @sjmgarnier) R code by: Simon Garnier (www.theswarmlab.com / @sjmgarnier) Python code by: Randy Olson (www.randalolson.com / @randal_olson) Document generated with RStudio, knitr, and pandoc. Python figures generated with iPython Notebook. Foreword My friend Randy Olson and I got into the habit to argue about the relative qualities of our favorite languages for data analysis and visualization. I am an enthusiastic R user (www.r-project.org) while Randy is a fan of Python (www.python.org). One thing we agree on however is that... Read more.

Date: January 12, 2014 | Categories: blogrvspythonr

R vs Python - Round 1

Text by: Simon Garnier (www.theswarmlab.com / @sjmgarnier) R code by: Simon Garnier (www.theswarmlab.com / @sjmgarnier) Python code by: Randy Olson (www.randalolson.com / @randal_olson) Document generated with RStudio, knitr, and pandoc. Python figures generated with iPython Notebook. Foreword My friend Randy Olson and I got into the habit to argue about the relative qualities of our favorite languages for data analysis and visualization. I am an enthusiastic R user (www.r-project.org) while Randy is a fan of Python (www.python.org). One thing we agree on however is that... Read more.

Date: January 5, 2014 | Categories: blogrvspythonr