The World’s Colonisation and Trade Routes Formation as Imitated by Slime Mould

If you glue corn flakes to a globe and infect it with slime, the slime grows between corn flakes in a pattern that looks kind of like roads.

No, I don’t know either.

Adamatzky, A. (2012) The World’s Colonisation and Trade Routes Formation as Imitated by Slime Mould, arXiv:1209.3958.

The plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum is renowned for spanning sources of nutrients with networks of protoplasmic tubes. The networks transport nutrients and metabolites across the plasmodium’s body. To imitate a hypothetical colonisation of the world and formation of major transportation routes we cut continents from agar plates arranged in Petri dishes or on the surface of a three-dimensional globe, represent positions of selected metropolitan areas with oat flakes and inoculate the plasmodium in one of the metropolitan areas. The plasmodium propagates towards the sources of nutrients, spans them with its network of protoplasmic tubes and even crosses bare substrate between the continents. From the laboratory experiments we derive weighted Physarum graphs, analyse their structure, compare them with the basic proximity graphs and generalised graphs derived from the Silk Road and the Asia Highway networks.

Copyright © 2014 M. Christopher Auld