Internal links

Termite city

Grooming behavior of Macrotermes michaelseni

Initiation of swarm building

Endocasting Macrotermes sampler

Macrotermes sampler

Fungus comb morphology

Termite drinkers

Cognitive trap simulation

Swarm aphasia

Unrestrained stigmergic building

Transient state gas exchange

Repair building by a Macrotermes swarm

An insect engineer

Termite videos

My research on termites has involved heavy use of video. I try to post these on my YouTube channel (search macrotermiteman). Below are links to these videos. You are welcome to share or embed these in your own sites, but please just give appropriate credit if you do. Credits are found at the end of each video.

You can also find these videos on my YouTube channel (macrotermiteman)

Enjoy!

Termite city

In 1938 Alfred Emerson published the popular book Termite City, which was illustrated by a series of beautiful woodcuts by Keith Ward. This video shows off these woodcuts, accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack by Ravel and Debussy.

J S Turner, producer
2011. 10:48.

Grooming behavior of Macrotermes michaelseni

The rich social interactions of swarms of Macrotermes workers. Shot on location in Namibia.

J S Turner. producer
2011. 9:59.


Initiation of swarm building

Repair behavior by termite swarms needs to be initiated somehow. This video looks at the role of individual idiosyncracy as an important initiator. Shot on location in Namibia.

J S Turner, producer
2011. 11:39.

Endocasting

To reveal the network of internal passageways in a mound, we fill the mound with plaster, and then either wash away the soil or slice the mound to recraeate the anatomy in 3D. Featuring Dr Rupert Soar.

J S Turner, producer
2010. 6:44.


Macrotermes sampler

One of our original video productions (and it shows), including footage of the queen and workers. These images were taken when we hosted the camera crew for Sir David Attenborough's natural history series, Life in the Undergrowth.

J S Turner, producer
2007. 9:37.

Fungus comb morphology

The fungus combs are the major metabolic partner in the symbiosis between Macrotermes and their fungal symbiont Termitomyces. In this video, I use fluorescein dye to estimate the surface area, volume and scaling relationships of the fungus combs.

J S Turner, producer
2009. 7:02.


Termite drinkers

Termites have a complex water economy that involves them gathering and sharing water. Here, we use fluorescein dye as a marker of water movements between termites and soils. These reveal some surprising species differences.

J S Turner, producer
2009. 6:12.

Cognitive trap simulation

Termites have swarm intelligence, but they also have forms of swarm cognitive disorders. This video simulates the emergence of a cognitive trap.

J S Turner, producer
2008. 2:13.


Swarm aphasia

Swarm cognitive traps can also be seen in actual swarms of termites. This video demonstrates the emergence of one, a kind of swarm aphasia induced by crowding.

J S Turner, producer
2008. 2:06.

Unrestrained stigmergic building

This is a 22 hour time lapse sequence of Macrotermes workers building in an observation pipe. This demonstrates a kind of cognitive trap, where building continues for much longer than it does in the mound. This is due to a distortion of the feedback signals that control repair building, caused by confinining building within the impermeable walls of the pipe.

J S Turner, producer
2012. 2:05.


Transient state gas exchange

How termite mounds capture transient state turbulent winds to power the colony's respiratory gas exchange. This video summarizes the two principal mechanisms that are believed to promote mixing of stratified nest air and mound air: pendelluft mixing and resonant mixing. This video is an excerpt from a longer video presented to an international conference on new concepts in mine ventilation, in Johannesburg, South Africa

J S Turner and C Baycura, producers
2011. 4:27.

Repair building by a Macrotermes swarm

When a hole is drilled in a Macrotermes mound, a crew of workers is mobilized to plug the breach. Here is a time lapse video (spanning 8 hours) of that process in action

J S Turner, producer
2011. 0:14.


An insect engineer

A brief look at mound building by Macrotermes michaelseni. Prepared for a demonstration by Harvard's Wyss Institute.

J S Turner, producer
2011. 2:59.

Other media

Main media PoL faves Physics of Life all videos Termite videos Biologys Second Law Miscellaneous media