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Iain Couzin

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Position: Professor
Title: Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Office: 303 Guyot Hall
Phone: 609-258-8786
Iain Couzin


My research focuses on understanding collective behavior; how large-scale biological patterns result from the actions and interactions of the individual components of a system. We study self-organised pattern formation in a wide range of biological systems, including ants, fish schools, bird flocks, locust / cricket swarms and human crowds. Areas of particular interest include:

  • Collective decision-making in groups.
  • Creating computer models (mostly individual-based) to elucidate the relationship between biological pattern forming processes over a range of spatial and temporal scales.
  • The spread, and use, of information in animal populations (information transmission across dynamic networks; social learning).
  • How the movement of, and interactions among, individuals produces the dynamics of the population they make up.
  • Developing computer vision software to record and analyse the movement and behavior of a large number (hundreds) of organisms (e.g. insects, fish) concurrently.
  • Applying biologically-inspired algorithms to technological applications.

Recent Publications

1. Berdahl, A., Torney, C.J., Ioannou, C.C., Faria, J., & Couzin, I.D. (2013) Emergent sensing of complex environments by social animal groups. Science 339(6119), 574-576
2. Ioannou, C.C., Guttal, V. & Couzin, I.D. (2012) Predatory fish select for coordinated collective motion in virtual prey, Science 337(6099), 1212-1215.
3. Gallup, A.C., Hale, J.J., Garnier, S., Sumpter, D.J.T., Kacelnik, A., Krebs, J. & Couzin, I.D. (2012) Visual attention and information transfer in human crowds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109(19), 7245-7250.
4. Couzin, I.D., Ioannou, C.C., Demirel, G., Gross, T., Torney, C.J., Hartnett, A., Conradt, L., Levin, S.A. & Leonard, N.E. (2011) Uninformed individuals promote democratic consensus in animal groups. Science 323(6062), 1578-1580
5. Katz, Y., Ioannou, C.C., Tunstrom, K., Huepe, C. & Couzin, I.D. (2011) Inferring the structure and dynamics of interactions in schooling fish. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108(46), 18720-18725.