As a faculty fellow in 2021-22, Deborah M. Gordon will join the CASBS program “Humans, Nature, and Machines.” Gordon’s research is on collective behavior in ant colonies and other natural systems that operate without central control, using local interactions among participants to allow groups to respond to changing conditions. An ecological perspective on collective behavior examines how collective behavior adjusts to changing environments. Ant colonies function collectively, and the enormous diversity of more than 14K species of ants, in different habitats, provides opportunities to look for general ecological patterns in the evolution of collective behavior. Gordon’s long-term study of the demography and behavior of a population of colonies in New Mexico shows how natural selection is shaping the collective behavior that regulates foraging in response to water stress.
Gordon is professor of biology at Stanford University. She is the author of Ants at Work (2000, W. W. Norton & Company), and Ant Encounters: Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior (2010, Princeton University Press, Primers in Complex Systems), both written during fellowships at CASBS, and a forthcoming book, The Ecology of Collective Behavior (Princeton University Press). Gordon was a CASBS fellow in 1997-98, 2001-02, and 2009-10.
For more information, please visit her lab website: http://www.stanford.edu/~dmgordon/