Collective Behaviour and Ecology

Konstanz’s research in the area of collective behaviour and ecology draws on synergies between the fields of biology, computer science, physics, economics, sociology and psychology. Our scientists measure quantitatively the actions, characteristics and states of individuals, in addition to the structures they form and that provide the location for their interactions, as well as the environmental factors that both impact them and that they themselves cause. The most important research areas with an ecological focus include plant ecology, especially with regard to the spread of invasive species, and limnology, inland waters as ecosystems. In the field of collective behaviour, the Cluster of Excellence “Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour” (EXC 2117) is an internationally leading, top-level research facility for the study of basic principles of collective behaviour in different organisms and on different organizational levels, including humans.

The research in this field completed in close partnership with the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Konstanz focuses, among other things, on the complex behavioural decisions of animal collectives in the water, on land and in the air, in addition to animal migration and its effects on global ecosystems. Major support for researchers active in this field is provided by state-of-the-art technologies such as the space-based animal tracking system ICARUS (International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space), innovative virtual reality environments as well as the Centre for Visual Computing of Collectives now under construction that will open its doors in 2021.