Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Working at the University of Groningen Rosalind Franklin Fellowship Fellows 2003-2004

Charlotte Hemelrijk


Research Field: Self-organization of social systems

We are interested in all aspects of self-organization in social systems of animals. At present our focus is on primates, fish and birds. In our computer models we study to what degree complex phenomena in nature may arise by self-organization, thus as a side-effect of interactions of individuals with their social and physical environment. With these methods, we have shown that in primates their complex patterns of social behaviour (such as dominance style, the formation of coalitions, the exchange of services for favours and patterns of reconciliation and consolation) may emerge as a side–effect of social –spatial structuring while involving simple cognition [1, 2] . Similarly, in corvids stress and its disturbing effects on memory may lead to the complex reshuffling of hidden food (caches) without that individuals have insight in aims of others ( theory of mind) [3] . Further, our models of huge flocks of starlings show that the complexity of their manoeuvring and the dynamics of their shape are a consequence of mainly two factors, the asynchronous behaviour of their individuals and the physical constraints of flying behaviour [4] . Besides, we show how fish cause fluid flow in water and predict the flow if they swim faster [5].

Employee page of Charlotte Hemelrijk


  1. Hemelrijk CK, Puga-Gonzalez I. (2012) An individual-oriented model on the emergence of support in fights, its reciprocation and exchange. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37271.
  2. Puga-Gonzalez, I., Hildenbrandt, H. and Hemelrijk, C. K. 2009. Emergent patterns of social affiliation in primates, a model. - Plos Computational Biology 5 (12): e1000630. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000630.
  3. van der Vaart E, Verbrugge R, Hemelrijk CK. (2012) Corvid re-caching without 'theory of mind': A model. Plos One 7(3): e32904.
  4. Hemelrijk CK, Hildenbrandt H. (2012) Schools of fish and flocks of birds: Their shape and internal structure by self-organization. Interface Focus: 1-12.
  5. Daniel A. P. Reid, H. Hildenbrandt, J. T. Padding, and C. K. Hemelrijk (2012), Fluid dynamics of moving fish in a two-dimensional multiparticle collision dynamics model. Phys. Rev. E 85, 021901
Last modified:13 April 2021 12.56 p.m.