Sonderkolloquium: Some topics in physical ethology in single-celled organisms

Prof. Dr. Toshiyuki Nakagaki

Mathematical and Physical Ethology Lab., 

Research Center of Mathematics for Social Creativity,

Research Institute for Electronic Science,

Hokkaido University



In various single-celled species, we encounter a remarkable complex level of behaviour. Indeed, there are problem-solving ability and primitive forms of learning of periodic events and geometry of space. Typical examples of such behaviour are found in quite tractable model organisms: A large amoeba, the slime mold Physarum polycephalum, a ciliate like Paramecium and Tetrahymena. We have proposed a simple model (equations of motion) reproducing the observed behaviour and we have tried to extract a kind of algorithm that works in the behavioural intelligence. Behavioural strategy in complicated situations is not easy to interpret but it often turns out to be cleverer than we expected. Discussion will be made on: (1) mechanism of decision-making learned from those primitive organisms and (2) comparison to human behaviour. There might be a common basis that spans a wide variety of organisms.


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Creative Research Institution