"Network topology and the evolution of leadership in collective migration"

Naomi E. Leonard, Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University

The evolution of leadership in migratory populations depends not only on the costs and benefits of leadership investments but also on the opportunities for individuals to rely on social cues. We derive an analytically tractable adaptive dynamic network model of collective migration with fast timescale migration dynamics and slow timescale adaptive dynamics of individual leadership investment and social interaction. We study bifurcations with respect to investment cost and find conditions for evolutionary branching into leader and follower subpopulations. We investigate how the underlying social interaction network influences the emergence of leaders. Our work informs the design of robotic networks where agents use decentralized strategies that balance direct environmental measurements with agent interactions for missions that require collective tracking or learning.

Naomi Ehrich Leonard is the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and associate faculty member of the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. Her research is in nonlinear control and dynamics with current interests in coordinated control for multi-agent systems, mobile sensor networks, collective animal behavior and decision dynamics in mixed human/robot teams. She received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2004 and the Mohammed Dahleh Award in 2005. She is a Fellow of the IEEE, SIAM and ASME. She received the B.S.E. degree from Princeton University in 1985 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Maryland in 1991 and 1994. From 1985 to 1989, she worked as an engineer in the electric power industry.

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