S4-5 Saturday, Jan. 5 10:00 - 10:30 Dynamics of a worm blob AYDIN, YO; CULVER, J; TENNENBAUM, M; GOLDMAN, DI; BHAMLA, MS*; Georgia Institute of Technology firstname.lastname@example.org https://twitter.com/bhamlalab
Organisms across all length scales (from cells to humans) cluster and forms large social groups for evolutionary advantages. In some cases, aggregates exhibit and enable new functionalities: floating on water (fire ants), nest-building (bees) and mobbing predators (birds). In this talk, we describe new insight into aggregation behavior in worms, where hundreds of thousands of worms entangle together to form a large, wet, and squishy ‘blob’. These worm blobs have emergent viscoelastic properties of the collective – they can flow through tubes, while bouncing off hard substrates; they can ‘sense’ each other and merge; they can rapidly unknot and dissipate into individual units within a few seconds; and lastly the worm blob as a whole can break symmetry and move across substrates in response to external gradients.