Research

Many biological systems are complex aggregates of multiple agents working together towards collective, higher-order goals, and evolution acts on variation in these emergent collective properties. There is no central control dictating the activities of members in the assembly. Instead, agents use local signals that determine their behavior and are received through an intricate interaction network resulting in collective phenotypes. Thus, the composition of a group and the way its members interact affects the success of the group as a whole, just as the composition of any sports team dictates its success in the league.

The Pinter-Wollman lab examines the emergence of collective outcomes from group composition by combining field and lab studies with computer simulations, theoretical work, image analysis, and social network analysis.

We are also interested in the interplay between conservation biology and animal behavior. Examining the behavior of animals can provide important assessment tools for conservation actions and insights on preserving biodiversity. At the same time, wildlife management actions can provide unique opportunities for studying interesting questions in animal behavior.

For more on specific projects:

Spatial constraints on social interactions

Group composition of invasive species

Keystone individuals