Session F10: Focus Session: Evolutionary and Ecological Dynamics II

8:00 AM–11:00 AM, Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Room: 201

Sponsoring Units: DBIO GSNP
Chair: Pankaj Mehta, Boston University

Abstract ID: BAPS.2014.MAR.F10.2

Abstract: F10.00002 : Stochastic recruitment leads to symmetry breaking in foraging populations

8:36 AM–8:48 AM

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  Tommaso Biancalani
    (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

  Louise Dyson
    (University of Manchester)

  Alan McKane
    (University of Manchester)

When an ant colony is faced with two identical equidistant food sources, the foraging ants are found to concentrate more on one source than the other. Analogous symmetry-breaking behaviours have been reported in various population systems, (such as queueing or stock market trading) suggesting the existence of a simple universal mechanism. Past studies have neglected the effect of demographic noise and required rather complicated models to qualitatively reproduce this behaviour. I will show how including the effects of demographic noise leads to a radically different conclusion. The symmetry-breaking arises solely due to the process of recruitment and ceases to occur for large population sizes. The latter fact provides a testable prediction for a real system.

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