Hybrid Encounters: Speaker Introduction - Alex Jordan

Our next »Hybrid Encounters. Art meets Science - Art, biology and algorithms« is just around the corner: For May 25th, 7pm at UdK’s Concert Hall, the artist Tomás Saraceno has invited guests to discuss what one might learn from analyzing spider colonies and bringing this knowledge to other disciplines – such as artificial intelligence. In the coming weeks we will introduce each of the speakers and – of course  the host himself - in a series of weekly posts: We are going to start with Alex Jordan, Principal Investigator at the Department of Collective Behaviour at Max Planck Institute Konstanz.

Browsing the webpage of the Department of Collective Behaviour of Max Planck Institute for Ornitholgy one might get the impression that collective behaviour is best investigated by observing all kind of fish – cichlids, guppies and damselfish are mentioned and displayed as important objects of study for the department. But aside from all those photos taken underwater of fish and of research staff wearing wetsuits, there can be found a different story, which tells that the department also seems to have a second mainstay on landmass: Here their objects of interest is characterized by legs rather than fins – the very specific number of eights legs, which is one of the distinct feature of spiders.

Alex Jordan, now being one of the Principal Investigator at the department, started his career with research stays in Sidney at the Universities of Sidney and New South Wales, where he also did his PhD in Evolutionary Biology in 2011. Later he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science at the Lake Tanganyika Research Station, as well as at the University of Texas in the Department of Integrative Biology, before he started working at Max Planck Institute for Ornitholgy at Lake Constance in 2015. His research there focuses on projects examining the effect of social hierarchy and collective behavior, but also on the flow of information through social groups or the sources acting on behavioural traits.

We are very happy to welcome Alex Jordan as one of our guests for the Hybrid Encounters and looking forward on his broad expertise on spiders and their eclectic social behavior.