Kelly Hougland | Ph.D. Student

Kelly Hougland

Contact Information:

205 Tucker Hall
Columbia, MO 65211



My primary research focus is on collective behavior. The movement and interaction of large groups of animals is not uncommon in nature, but the individuals of the group do not share a mind. So any behavior on the group level is the result of the behaviors of the individuals. I am interested in how tendencies on the individual scale result in complex or broad sweeping behaviors on the group of population level.

A periodical cicada perched on a plant

Newly emerged periodical cicada

The emergence of periodical cicadas in an area is a popular and engaging phenomenon, unique to North America. These insects not only synchronize their emergence every 13 or 17 years to a window of a few weeks, at the population level, but to a few days, at the local level. I am investigating the tendencies and behaviors of the individual cicada nymphs that result in such precise timing.

field site, showing squares of netting on the ground

Array with netting to capture emerging periodical cicadas