COBBS – Collective Behaviour in Biological Systems

From bird flocks to fish schools, from insect swarms to cell colonies, collective behaviour is a very widespread phenomenon in many biological systems. It is hard to define, but easy to recognize. What are the mechanisms regulating collective behaviour in Read the rest

Publications – Collective Behaviour in Biological Systems (COBBS) Laboratory

COBBS papers in collective behaviour:

Read the rest

COBBS photographs

Here is a selection of some of the INFM-CNR photographs from the STARFLAG project.

They are at low resolution. You can have the high resolution versions by contacting Andrea Cavagna:

Please note that the credit for each one of Read the rest


left-to-right: Cavagna, Orlandi, Procaccini,Lukic, Zdravkovic

Here follows a very synthetic description of the role each one of the people in the INFM-CNR/STARFLAG team had:

  • Michele Ballerini (CNR-INFM)
    electronics, data taking
  • Nicola Cabibbo (La Sapienza)
    electronics design, experimental setup design
  • Raphael
Read the rest

Topological vs. Metric distance

Basically all existing models of collective animal behaviour (bird flocks, fish schools, etc) assume that the interaction between different individuals depends on the metric distance, just as in physics. This implies, for example, that two birds 5 meters apart … Read the rest

Home Page of Andrea Cavagna

Andrea Cavagna


Post-Doc, Theoretical Physics, Physics Dept, Manchester University, UK, 2001 (with Alan Bray and Mike Moore)

Post-Doc, Condensed Matter, Theoretical Physics Dept, Oxford University, UK, 1999 (with David Sherrington)

Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics, University of Rome Sapienza, … Read the rest

STARFLAG: a project on collective animal behaviour

Collective animal behaviour is a fascinating phenomenon. How does global co-ordination emerge in a flock of thousands starlings swirling at dusk? How does a school of sardines organize in a circular pattern? What is the evolutionary function of collective behaviour? Read the rest

COBBS Lab – Press and Media Coverage

The seventh starling (Murmuration) – The Guardian

Choreografie ohne Choreografen – NZZ


Birds of a feather … track seven neighbors to flock together – News at Princeton

How do starlings create those mesmerizing murmurations – Cornell Lab Ornithology

Editorial: Read the rest