Currently, Helder Hugo's doctoral research focuses on understanding underlying mechanisms of collective behaviour in Neotropical termite species. Specifically, he is interested in why and how termite societies manage to rapidly switch from random motion to coordinated collective patterns in the complete absence of visual cues.
In order to better understand both the individual- and group-level properties of termites' movement ecology, Helder is uses biological models composed by Neotropical termite species (e.g. Constrictotermes cyphergaster, Inquilinitermes microcerus, Syntermes molestus).
As a fellow of the International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, a dynamic multidisciplinary environment, Helder has been focused on gaining experience with the latest computational methods, as well as with different biological systems. While incorporating his previous experience with complex systems to have a better grasp of the field of collective animal behaviour, he is determined to develop a more comprehensive understanding of species coexistence across animal groups.
Helder Hugo is a Ph.D. student and scientific illustrator with B.Sc. in Biology. In 2016, he earned his M.Sc. in Entomology from the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil. Before joining Iain Couzin’s group in the Department of Collective Behavior, Helder had theoretical and practical experience in Brazil and USA with Systematics and Ecology of Spiders, Integrated Pest Management, Applied Biological Control, and Behavioral Ecology of Termites.