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Ryan Jones


Hopper Bands: Locust Aggregation

Andrew J. Bernoff
Second Reader(s)
Chad M. Topaz (Macalester College)


Locust swarms cause famine and hunger in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa as they travel across croplands and eat vegetation. Current models start with biological properties of locusts and analyze the macroscopic behavior of the system. These models exhibit the desired migratory behavior, but do so with too many parameters. To account for this, a new model, the Alignment and Intermittent Motion (AIM) model, is derived with minimal assumptions. AIM is constructed with regards to locust biology, allowing it to elicit biologically correct locust behavior: the most noteworthy being the fingering of hopper bands. A Particle-in-Cell method is used to optimize simulations, allowing for trials of up to $10^6$ particles over reasonable timescales. We analyze the shapes of these swarms, note the similarities between simulations of large and small swarms, and propose possible methods for analyzing simulation metrics.

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