Iain Couzin, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, studies collective animal behavior.
According to National Geographic's press release:
"Behavioral ecologist Iain Couzin (Ph.D.) is assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton. His work aims to reveal the fundamental principles that underlie collective behavior. His research, which includes the study of a wide range of biological systems, from schools of fish to human crowds, explores how large-scale biological patterns result from interactions of the individual components of a system. Through his work on insect swarm behavior, he is improving understanding of how people, animals and even diseases manage to accomplish things in groups that they never could as individuals. He blends fieldwork, lab experiments, computer simulations and complex mathematical models to test theories of why cells, animals and humans organize and work together. "Scientists are realizing how important it is to gain knowledge about group dynamics. Sometimes nature surprises us with solutions more elegant than anything we could imagine," he says."