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NIMBioS Seminar Series

In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series on topics in mathematical biology will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in the Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served in Room 205 beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us.

O. Udiani photo.

Speaker: Oyita Udiani, NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellow
Time/Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 3:30*
Location: Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Topic: Mathematical models of social dynamics and task organization in animal societies
Abstract: A key factor in the success of social animals is their organization of work. Mathematical models have been instrumental in showing how complex organizational strategies like division of labor can emerge from the interactions of individuals following simple rules. However, not much is known about how these strategies are regulated in response to environmental changes. In this talk, I will present some ongoing projects to explore this question using experimental colonies of the harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex spp). I discuss how a behavioral modeling approach (i.e., one that examines the mechanisms of decision-making at the individual level) can provide insights into the organizational patterns and productivity differences observed in experiments. Examples to be discussed include collective foraging in mature colonies and offspring care in newly formed ones.

A postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS, Oyita Udiani is using colony founding behavior in paper wasps (Polistes spp.) to develop a framework for the study of learning in games with stochastic payoffs

*Join us for refreshments at 3 p.m.

Seminar Flyer (pdf)

Video icon. Watch seminar online. This seminar was streamed live. Live-streamed seminars are archived for later viewing on NIMBioS' YouTube channel.

For more information about this and other NIMBioS Seminars, visit

O. Udiani.

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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