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Your Questions for a Swarm Theory Biologist

2012 Emerging Explorer Iain Couzin. Photo: Simon Garnier

Can understanding a swarm of cannibalistic locusts help solve world hunger? Can a million migrating wildebeests help explain why cancer spreads? Can a school of fish help invent robots that locate oil spills? Here to answer your questions is our next Facebook Live guest and 2012 Emerging Explorer Iain Couzin, swarm theorist and behavioral ecologist.

Next week, Iain will be joining us in Washington D.C. for the 6th Annual Explorers Symposium. National Geographic’s Class of 2012 Emerging Explorers along with several other esteemed guests will take part in a two-day event chock full of  panel discussions, meetings and updates from the field, concluded by the much anticipated announcement of National Geographic’s Explorer of the Year.

Iain’s research stands to be some of the most progressive in his field, arguing that collective behavior in animals could provide surprising solutions to some of the world’s toughest issues.

“By analytically quantifying all these examples of collective behavior, we can translate knowledge from one system to another—from locusts to wildebeest to people. Scientists are realizing how little we know, yet how important it is to gain knowledge about group dynamics. Sometimes nature surprises us with solutions more elegant than anything we could imagine. There could be completely unknown applications we haven’t even dreamed of yet,” says Iain.

To hear more about these “elegant solutions”, tune in to this week’s live conversation on the National Geographic Facebook page Monday, June 11th at 2:30pm ET (6:30pm UTC). Post your questions there or in the comments section of this blog post. Then tune in for the live interview and post more questions as the conversation develops.

Learn More

NatGeo Weekend’s Boyd Matson interviews Iain Couzin


Photo Gallery: Swarm Behavior

Follow Iain on Twitter


  1. […] Send your questions about swarm theory and the genius of crowds for a live interview with 2012 Emerging Explorer Iain Couzin on the NG Facebook page Monday, June 11, at 2:30 p.m. […]