Building Better Shipping Networks With Ants

Scientists model the movement of ants to streamline the handling of shipping containers at international ports.

If you’ve ever watched ants work cookie crumbs across a kitchen floor, you know they’re all business. Now scientists have modeled this extremely efficient foraging to optimize the handling of shipping containers at international ports. When worker ants find a food source, they systematically carry bits back to the nest, leaving a scented trail for other ants to trace to the booty. The scent wears off over time, indicating the distance to the food and how many ants have already access...

The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on, please log in.

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar

Log in to your account

Email address:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it emailed to you.

Not registered yet?

Register now for FREE. It takes only a few seconds to complete. Register now »