Video: Beehive study highlights how leaderless complex systems manage to get things done

June 3, 2014 by Miles O'brien

When we refer to someone as the "queen bee," we are suggesting the individual might be in charge of the situation. But, in fact, actual queen bees are not in charge of anything. Their job is to lay eggs, not to rule the hive.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), entomologist Gene Robinson and mechanical engineer Harry Dankowicz at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have teamed up with psychologist Whitney Tabor at the University of Connecticut to study how coordination emerges in leaderless complex societies, such as a bee hive.

The researchers have also designed controlled situations to study how groups of humans manage to coordinate efforts and get things done, even in challenging situations in which there is no leader.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Ultimately, the research may contribute to solving challenges, such as the collapse of pollinating or among groups of humans.

Explore further: Immunity-Related Genes in Leafcutting Bee Uncovered

Related Stories

1st 'zombie' bees on East Coast found in Vt. (Update)

January 28, 2014

Vermont beekeepers say they face mite infestations, extreme temperature swings and the possibility of colony collapse. But a San Francisco State University professor says a new threat has arrived in Vermont: zombie bees.

Bee biodiversity boosts crop yields

May 9, 2014

Research from North Carolina State University shows that blueberries produce more seeds and larger berries if they are visited by more diverse bee species, allowing farmers to harvest significantly more pounds of fruit per ...

Recommended for you

Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 29, 2015

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.