Current Projects

Stars of the show

Fire ants

Fire ants are native to the Pantanal wetland in South America. However, they have invaded most of the tropical world, including all southern states in the US. They exhibit numerous awe-inspiring collective behaviors.

The most unique talent of fire ants is their ability to build floating rafts on the water surface. This strategy helps them survive the flooding seasons. It remains an open question if and how the rafts adapt to different fluid environments.

Black soldier fly larvae

Black soldier flies are commercially significant organisms. They are exclusively used in an emerging industry that recycles the food waste by feeding them to larvae; then turning them into food for chicken or pigs.

There exist many opportunities to improve productivity in this industry. One challenge is that larvae can’t survive dense aggregations due to overheating. Additional measures need to be taken to improve the space usage efficiency.