Author Archives: labadmin

New preprint out!

Check out our new preprint entitled “Searching for structure in collective systems” by Colin Twomey (U Penn) as the main author, co-authored by Pawel Romanczuk. The manuscript proposes a novel, information theoretic method for quantifying collective systems. The method does not make any assumptions about the nature of interactions in the collective, e.g. it does not rely on assuming pairwise interactions. Our approach is complementary to both, a bottom-up approach focusing on microscopic (binary) interactions (e.g. analyzing pairwise correlations), and a macroscopic approach focusing on aggregated collective variables. Thus it can provide important insights with respect to the, possibly dynamic, meso-scale structure of collectives, from fish schools to neurons.


Lab on tour…

This week Pawel Romanczuk is greatly honored to be an invited speaker at the Ising Lectures, at the Institute for Condensed Matter Physics in Lviv/Ukraine on invitation by Prof. Holovatch.

In parallel, there is a great ICTP conference in Trieste/Italy on Collective Behavior. From our lab Parisa, Pascal and Yinong are attending it, and Pawel rushes there as well to give a talk on Thursday, May 10th. The program looks amazing and the conference looks like a great opportunity to get up to date with cutting-edge research on collective behavior and meet a lot of great people.

Our new paper appeared in Ecology Letters!

Recently the paper “How ecology shapes exploitation: a framework to predict the behavioural response of human and animal foragers along exploration-exploitation trade-offs.”, co-authored by Pawel Romanczuk appeared in Ecology Letters. Therein, we propose a novel framework for understanding how spatio-temporal dynamics of ressources shape the social interaction between competing agents by combining theory with a review of empirical observations. The work started in the course of an exciting collaboration supported by the Princeton-Humboldt strategic partnership. Many thanks to all co-authors – in particular Chris Monk who did a great job putting everything together!

New Robofish paper is out!

A new paper from the Robofish team, just appeared online! The Robofish project is an exciting interdisciplinary collaboration between fish biologist around David Bierbach & Jens Krause, bio-roboticist around Tim Landgraf and our lab. In this specific paper the robotic fish was used probe the social behavior of surface and cave-dwelling fish. Thanks to all co-authors, especially to David Bierbach for the great work!

Bierbach, D. et al: “Insights into the social behavior of surface and cave-dwelling fish (Poecilia mexicana) in light and darkness through the use of a biomimetic robot”, Front. Robot. AI (2018),  doi: 10.3389/frobt.2018.00003


Success for SCoI in the first round of the excellence initiative!

We received today, Sep 29th, 2017, the amazing news that the application for the excellence cluster “Science of Intelligence” (SCIoI), where Pawel Romanczuk is one of the designated PIs, succeeded in the first round of the excellence initiative of the German federal and state governments. From 195 initial applications, 88 were selected and are invited to submit a full proposal. For the SCIoI-team this great news means now a lot of work in the coming months preparing the full proposal. But with the past experience of the productive atmosphere and the inspiring,  truly interdisciplinary, scientific discussions during our SCoI meetings, we are all excited and highly motivated to work together even more intensely to submit the best possible application for the second round.

You can learn more about our excellence cluster proposal “Science of Intelligence” at, whereas the official press release of the DFG about the first round can be found here.

Science of Intelligence

Over the past months, Pawel Romanczuk was part of an interdisciplinary group preparing an application for the Excellence Cluster “Science of Intelligence” (SCIoI) within Germany’s Excellence Strategy Program. The interdisciplinary crowd of people involved in SCIoI are amazing, on both, the scientific and the personal level. This made working on this application already a great experience,  with the scientific discussions during our preparatory meetings being truly inspiring. A corresponding pre-application was submitted end of March, and we all hope for a positive review, as we are really excited about the prospects of the planned collaborative research.  If you want to learn more about the proposed cluster, check out the Science of Intelligence Website.

Sailfish paper published!

Our paper “Proto-cooperation: group hunting sailfish improve hunting success by alternating attacks on grouping prey”  was published on November 2nd, 2016 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. It combines unique observations in the open ocean with a generic mathematical model of the hunting process to explore cooperative benefits of group hunting in sailfish. Check out the amazing footage of sailfish hunting for sardines  from the coverage of our article in the on-line news section of  Science Magazine. Many thanks to all co-authors!

New paper accepted!

Being back from holidays, I received the great news that our paper on progenitors migration in developing embryos, combining experimental results and mathematical modeling, got finally accepted for publications in BMC Biology:

Alba Diz-Muñoz; Pawel Romanczuk; Weimiao Yu; Martin Bergert; Kenzo Ivanovitch; Guillaume Salbreux; Carl-Philipp Heisenberg; Ewa Paluch: “Steering cell migration by alternating blebs and actin-rich protrusions”, BMC Biology, accepted (2016)

Many thanks to all co-authors, and in particular to the first author Alba Diz-Muñoz who recently started her own research group at EMBL in Heidelberg.

Success for CoCCoN!

LogoPUHURecently we got some great news: Our collaborative application of 18 PIs from Princeton and Humboldt University was selected for funding within the strategic partnership program of our institutions. Starting from September 1st 2016, the Cooperation and Collective Cognition Network (CoCCoN), will come into existence bringing together scientist from such different backgrounds as biology, physics, psychology, economics & social science. CoCCoN will provide a forum for interdisciplinary exchange and scientific discussion on different aspects of collective behavior, and in particular on  analogies and differences in collective dynamics within animal groups and socio-economic systems. It will provide not only some exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations, but also integrate some specialized student training on the focus topic. We are looking forward to some inspiring exchange across disciplinary borders.