Ant colonies regulate activity in response to changing conditions without using centralized control. Harvester ant colonies forage in the desert for seeds, and their regulation of foraging manages a tradeoff between spending and obtaining water. Foragers lose water while outside in the dry air, but the colony obtains water by metabolizing the fats in the seeds they eat. Previous work shows that the rate at which an outgoing forager leaves the nest depends on its recent experience of brief antennal contact with returning foragers that carry a seed. We examine how this process can yield foraging rates that are robust to uncertainty and responsive to temperature and humidity across minutes to hour-long timescales. To explore possible mechanisms, we develop a low-dimensional analytical model with a small number of parameters that captures observed foraging behavior. The model uses excitability dynamics to represent response to interactions inside the nest and a random delay distribution to represent foraging time outside the nest. We show how feedback of outgoing foragers returning to the nest stabilizes the incoming and outgoing foraging rates to a common value determined by the ``volatility’’ of available foragers. The model exhibits a critical volatility above which there is sustained foraging at a constant rate and below which there is cessation of foraging. To explain how the foraging rates of colonies adjust to temperature and humidity, we propose a mechanism that relies on foragers modifying their volatility after they leave the nest and get exposed to the environment. Our study highlights the importance of feedback in the regulation of foraging activity and points to modulation of volatility as a key to explaining differences in foraging activity in response to conditions and across colonies. Our results present opportunities for generalization to other contexts and systems with excitability and feedback across multiple timescales.
Yoo, Jongsoo; Jara-almonte, J.; Yerger, Evan; Wang, Shan; Qian, Tony; Le, Ari; Ji, Hantao; Yamada, Masaaki; Fox, William; Kim, Eun-Hwa; Chen, Li-Jen; Gershman, Daniel
Whistler wave generation near the magnetospheric separatrix during reconnection at the dayside magnetopause is studied with data from the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission. The dispersion relation of the whistler mode is measured for the first time near the reconnection region in space, which shows that whistler waves propagate nearly parallel to the magnetic field line. A linear analysis indicates that the whistler waves are generated by temperature anisotropy in the electron tail population. This is caused by loss of electrons with a high velocity parallel to the magnetic field to the exhaust region. There is a positive correlation between activities of whistler waves and the lower-hybrid drift instability (LHDI) both in laboratory and space, indicating the enhanced transport by LHDI may be responsible for the loss of electrons with a high parallel velocity.
Kinetic modification of ideal stability theory from stabilizing resonances of mode-particle interaction has had success in explaining resistive wall mode (RWM) stability limits in tokamaks. With the goal of real-time stability forecasting, a reduced kinetic stability model has been implemented in the new Disruption Event Characterization and Forecasting (DECAF) code, which has been written to analyze disruptions in tokamaks. The reduced model incorporates parameterized models for ideal limits on beta, a ratio of plasma pressure to magnetic pressure, which are shown to be in good agreement with DCON code calculations. Increased beta between these ideal limits causes a shift in the unstable region of delta W_K space, where delta W_K is the change in potential energy due to kinetic effects that is solved for by the reduced model, such that it is possible for plasmas to be unstable at intermediate beta but stable at higher beta. Gaussian functions for delta W_K are defined as functions of E cross B frequency and collisionality, with parameters reflecting the experience of the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). The reduced model was tested on a database of discharges from NSTX and experimentally stable and unstable discharges were separated noticeably on a stability map in E cross B frequency, collisionality space. The reduced model only failed to predict an unstable RWM in 15.6% of cases with an experimentally unstable RWM and performed well on predicting stability for experimentally stable discharges as well.
Skinner, C.H.; Bedoya, F.; Scotti, F.; Allain, J.P.; Blanchard, W.; Cai, D.; Jaworski, M.; Koel, B.E.
Boronization has been effective in reducing plasma impurities and enabling access to higher density, higher confinement plasmas in many magnetic fusion devices. The National Spherical Torus eXperiment, NSTX, has recently undergone a major upgrade to NSTX-U in order to develop the physics basis for a ST-based Fusion Nuclear Science Facility (FNSF) with capability for double the toroidal field, plasma current, and NBI heating power and increased pulse duration from 1–1.5 s to 5–8 s. A new deuterated tri-methyl boron conditioning system was implemented together with a novel surface analysis diagnostic. We report on the spatial distribution of the boron deposition versus discharge pressure, gas injection and electrode location. The oxygen concentration of the plasma facing surface was measured by in-vacuo XPS and increased both with plasma exposure and with exposure to trace residual gases. This increase correlated with the rise of oxygen emission from the plasma.
Small changes in word choice can lead to dramatically different interpretations of narratives. How does the brain accumulate and integrate such local changes to construct unique neural representations for different stories? In this study we created two distinct narratives by changing only a few words in each sentence (e.g. “he” to “she” or “sobbing” to “laughing”) while preserving the grammatical structure across stories. We then measured changes in neural responses between the two stories. We found that the differences in neural responses between the two stories gradually increased along the hierarchy of processing timescales. For areas with short integration windows, such as early auditory cortex, the differences in neural responses between the two stories were relatively small. In contrast, in areas with the longest integration windows at the top of the hierarchy, such as the precuneus, temporal parietal junction, and medial frontal cortices, there were large differences in neural responses between stories. Furthermore, this gradual increase in neural difference between the stories was highly correlated with an area’s ability to integrate information over time. Amplification of neural differences did not occur when changes in words did not alter the interpretation of the story (e.g. “sobbing” to “crying”). Our results demonstrate how subtle differences in words are gradually accumulated and amplified along the cortical hierarchy as the brain constructs a narrative over time.
Measuring free-surface, liquid-metal flow velocity is challenging to do in a reliable and accurate manner. This paper presents a non-invasive, easily-calibrated method of measuring the surface velocities of open-channel liquid-metal flows using an IR camera. Unlike other spatially-limited methods, this IR camera particle tracking technique provides full field-of-view data that can be used to better understand open-channel flows and determine surface boundary conditions. This method could be implemented and automated for a wide range of liquid-metal experiments, even if they operate at high-temperatures or within strong magnetic fields.
Khanna, Jaya; Medvigy, David; Fueglistaler, Stephan; Walko, Robert
More than 20% Amazon rainforest has been cleared in the past three decades triggering important hydroclimatic changes. Small-scale (~few kilometers) deforestation in the 1980s has caused thermally-triggered atmospheric circulations that increase regional cloudiness and precipitation frequency. However, these circulations are predicted to diminish as deforestation increases. Here we use multi-decadal satellite records and numerical model simulations to show a regime shift in the regional hydroclimate accompanying increasing deforestation in Rondônia, Brazil. Compared to the 1980s, present-day deforested areas in downwind western Rondônia are found to be wetter than upwind eastern deforested areas during the local dry season. The resultant precipitation change in the two regions is approximately ±25% of the deforested area mean. Meso-resolution simulations robustly reproduce this transition when forced with increasing deforestation alone, showing a negligible role of large-scale climate variability. Furthermore, deforestation-induced surface roughness reduction is found to play an essential role in the present-day dry season hydroclimate. Our study illustrates the strong scale-sensitivity of the climatic response to Amazonian deforestation and suggests that deforestation is sufficiently advanced to have caused a shift from a thermally- to a dynamically-driven hydroclimatic regime.
Thin film Faraday cup detectors can provide measurements of fast ion loss from magnetically confined fusion plasmas. These multilayer detectors can resolve the energy distribution of the lost ions in addition to giving the total loss rate. Prior detectors were assembled from discrete foils and insulating sheets. Outlined here is a design methodology for creating detectors using thin film deposition that are suited to particular scientific goals. The intention is to use detectors created by this method on JET and NSTX-U. The detectors will consist of alternating layers of aluminum and silicon dioxide, with layer thicknesses chosen to isolate energies of interest. Thin film deposition offers the advantage of relatively simple and more mechanically robust construction compared to other methods, as well as allowing precise control of film thickness. Furthermore, this depositional fabrication technique places the layers in intimate thermal contact, providing for three-dimensional conduction and dissipation of the ion-produced heating in the layers, rather than the essentially two-dimensional heat conduction in the discrete foil stack implementation.
Yoo, Jongsoo; Na, Byungkeun; Jara-Almonte, Jonathan; Yamada, Maasaki; Ji, Hantao; Roytershteyn, V.; Argall, M. R.; Fox, W.; Chen, Li-Jen
Electron heating and the energy inventory during asymmetric reconnection are studied in the laboratory plasma with a density ratio of about 8 across the current sheet. Features of asymmetric reconnection such as the large density gradients near the low-density-side separatrices, asymmetric in-plane electric field, and bipolar out-of-plane magnetic field are observed. Unlike the symmetric case, electrons are also heated near the low-density-side separatrices. The measured parallel electric field may explain the observed electron heating. Although large fluctuations driven by lower-hybrid drift instabilities are also observed near the low-density-side separatrices, laboratory measurements and numerical simulations reported here suggest that they do not play a major role in electron energization. The average electron temperature increase in the exhaust region is proportional to the incoming magnetic energy per an electron/ion pair but exceeds scalings of the previous space observations. This discrepancy is explained by differences in the boundary condition and system size. The profile of electron energy gain from the electric field shows that there is additional electron energy gain associated with the electron diamagnetic current besides a large energy gain near the X-line. This additional energy gain increases electron enthalpy, not the electron temperature. Finally, a quantitative analysis of the energy inventory during asymmetric reconnection is conducted. Unlike the symmetric case where the ion energy gain is about twice more than the electron energy gain, electrons and ions obtain a similar amount of energy during asymmetric reconnection.
Hvasta, M. G.; Slighton, N. T.; Kolemen, E.; Fisher, A. E.
Rotating Lorentz-force flowmeters are a novel and useful technology with a range of
applications in a variety of different industries. However, calibrating these flowmeters can
be challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. In this paper, simple calibration procedures
for rotating Lorentz-force flowmeters are presented. These procedures eliminate the need for
expensive equipment, numerical modeling, redundant flowmeters, and system down-time.
The calibration processes are explained in a step-by-step manner and compared to experimental results.