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  • The Third Annual Frontiers in Life Sciences Conference

    SOCIAL BIOMIMICRY Insect Societies and Human Design

    February 18 - 20, 2010Arizona State University - School Of Life Sciences

    Memorial Union, Tempe Campus

  • Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-3

    Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-5

    Guest Speaker Biographies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-9

    Conference Organizers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

    Oral Presentation Abstracts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12-21

    Poster Abstracts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22-35


  • photo credit: Tomatito26 | Dreamstime Stock Photos photo credit: Peter Gronemann

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    photo credit: Brian Fish

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    Biomimicry, also known as biomimetics or biologically inspired design, involves imitating natures forms and processes to more effectively and sustainably meet design challenges . Although humans have always sought inspiration from natural systems, the use of biology as a design tool is becoming more formalized and is increasingly spurring innovation . The social insects (ants, bees, wasps, termites, etc .) are uniquely qualified to inform human design; they have evolved societies rivaled only by our own in scope and sophistication, and, through their collective behavior and nest achitecture, have solved many problems also faced by humans, from routing traffic to regulating climate . This conference brings together biologists, designers, engineers, and businesspeople, to promote an interdisciplinary exchange of con-cepts, perspectives, and tools that we hope will enrich biology and advance biomimetic design .

    We have planned a variety of activities for the next three days . Each morning, our distinguished invited speakers will present their research and design programs in the context of biomimicry, followed by panel discussions that address common problem-oriented themes . Complexity scientist and business consultant Eric Bonabeau will deliver the keynote address . A poster session on Thursday evening will highlight basic and applied social insect research and biomimetic designs . Three working groups will meet daily, building upon specific examples to explore fundamental issues in biomimicry . And finally, we invite you to join us for the Social Insect Science EXPO!, a public event featuring live ants and bees and a presentation by insect wrangler and designer Ray Mendez .

    We thank you for participating, and look forward to your contri-butions to the conference and to the field of social biomimicry . If you have questions at any point before, during, or after the conference, please dont hesitate to ask one of us . We hope that your experience here is stimulating, comfortable, and productive .

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    BIOMIMICRY Social Biomimicry: Insect Societies and Human Design would not have been possible without gener-ous support from the Research and Training Initiatives Office of the School of Life Sciences (SOLS), Arizona State University, as part of the Frontiers in Life Sci-ences (FiLS) Conference Series . FiLS awards up to $30,000 annually to SOLS graduate students and postdocs to host a conference that showcases the interdisciplinary research of SOLS students and fac-ulty, connects that work with that of colleagues within and beyond ASU, and communicates the excitement of new discovery to students and the general public . We are the third recipients of this grant . The first two FiLS conferences, Iridescence: More than Meets the Eye in 2008 and Dynamic Deserts: Resource Uncertainty in Arid Environments in 2009, set a high standard, and we are heavily indebted to the past organizers for their guidance . In addition, supplemental funding was provided by the ASU Graduate and Professional Stu-dent Association (GPSA) . Thank you .

    The following people and organizations provided in-valuable technical and moral support:

    Rhonda Chapman, SOLS Business Office Margaret Coulombe, SOLS Grant Proposal and Media Relations Anita Dubbs, SOLS Business Office James Elser, Associate Dean, SOLS Research and Training Initiatives Rachel Hayes, SOLS Business Office Charles Kazilek, SOLS Visualization Lab Joshua Mikel, Graphic Designer Tricia Quitmeyer, SOLS Business Office Jacob Mayfield, SOLS Visualization Lab Jacob Sahertian, SOLS Visualization Lab Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity InnovationSpace Social Insect Research Group

    We also thank our invited speakers, who have been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic:

    Tucker Balch, Thomas Knittel, Karsten Peters, Eric Bo-nabeau, Vijay Kumar, Stephen Pratt, Prasad Boradkar, Doug Lawson, Craig Tovey, Anna Dornhaus, Ilaria Maz-zoleni, Walter Tschinkel, Jennifer Fewell, Ray Mendez, Scott Turner, Nigel Franks, Martin Middendorf, Bert Hlldobler, Kevin Passino


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    Dr. Tucker Balch is an Associate Profes-sor at Georgia Tech, in Interactive and Intelligent Computing . His research is focused on autonomous robots, so-cial animals and multi-robot teams . He co-edited the book Robot Teams: From Diversity to Polymorphism .

    Prasad Boradkar (Opening Speaker) is an Associate Professor in Industrial Design at Arizona State University in Tempe . He holds degrees in industrial design and mechanical engineering . He is the Program Director of the Industrial De-sign program, Codirector and Founder of CriticalCorps, and the Director of Inno-vationSpace, a transdisciplinary labora-tory where students and faculty partner with researchers, inventors, businesses, and biologists to explore user-centered product concepts that improve society and the environment .

    Dr. Eric Bonabeau (Keynote Speaker) is founder and Chief Scientist of Boston-based Icosystem Corporation . He is one of the worlds leading experts in complex systems and distributed adaptive prob-lem solving . He co-authored the books Swarm Intelligence and Self-Organization in Biological Systems . Dr . Bonabeau holds a Ph .D . in Theoretical Physics from Paris-Sud University in France .

    Dr. Anna Dornhaus is an Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona . Her main research interest is organization in groups, how collective behaviors emerge

    from the actions and interactions of individuals . Her model systems include colonies of bumble bees, honey bees and ants .

    Dr. Jennifer Fewell is a Professor at Arizona State University, in the School of Life Sciences . Her research addresses how task organization evolves within insect societies and how social groups function as self-organizing networks . She co-founded ASUs Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity, which lever-ages the emerging field of complex sys-tems to foster interdisciplinary research on fundamental questions of social life . She recently co-edited the book Organi-zation of Insect Societies: From Genome to Sociocomplexity .

    Dr. Nigel Franks is a Professor of Bio-logical Sciences at the University of Bristol . His research focuses on collec-tive problem solving and the algorithmic basis of self organization in ants . He is a co-author of three books, The Behav-ioral Ecology of Ants, Social Evolution in Ants, and Self Organization in Biological Systems .

    Dr. Bert Hlldobler (Opening Speaker) is behavioral biologist studying the evolu-tion of social organizations in insects, in particular the ants . He holds posi-tions at the University of Wuerzburg and Arizona State University, where he is a Foundation Professor in the School of Life Sciences . Dr . Hlldobler is a co-winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his work


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    on The Ants with Edward O . Wilson . He and Wilson also co-authored Journey to the Ants and The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of In-sect Societies . He is an elected member of several Academies and the recipient of numerous honors .

    Thomas Knittel is Design Principal and Sustainable Design Leader of the New York office of HOK, one of the worlds largest architectural firms . He is a gradu-ate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design .

    Dr. Vijay Kumar is a UPS Foundation Professor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of En-gineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania . His research interests lie in the area of robotics and networked multi-agent systems . He co-authored the book Robotics: State of the Art and Future Challenges .

    Dr. Doug Lawson is Manager of Process, Forecasting, and Simulations at South-west Airlines . He applies swarm intel-ligence models to improve efficiency and customer service .

    Ilaria Mazzoleni is a faculty member at the Southern California Institute of Architecture . Over the last ten years, she has investigated issues of sustainable ar-chitecture and building technologies . Her later academic and professional research focuses on Biomimicry: Innovation in Architecture Inspired by Nature .

    Raymond Mendez (EXPO Speaker) is the owner of an exhibit design, special ef-fects, and model making studio, Work As Play . He is also a Field Research Associ-ate in the Department of Entomology at the American Museum of Natural History . He is well known for his work in museum and zoo exhibit designs, specializing in live exhibits of eusocial animals . In addi-tion, he has had an illustrious career as an insect wrangler in the movie indus-try and as a designer for television and print ads .