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  • Sometimes nature is obvious and it's designand other times not so much. Patterns cover this  

  • entire planet. And while they may seem like random  designs that can actually reveal quite a lot,  

  • based on the work of famous mathematician Alan  Turing scientists have created the emerging field  

  • of mathematical biology. And in this next filmwe see how scientists are using this technique  

  • to unveil the hidden realm of patterns, with the  ultimate goal of harnessing them to save species  

  • across the world. Make sure you stick around after  the credits for a short q&a with the filmmakers.  

  • And now from Producer Cristina  Ceuca. This is "A Natural Code."

  • We live in a universe of patternsEvery night, stars move across the sky.

  • No two snowflakes are ever the sameintricate waves move across the oceans.  

  • The wind creates ripples in sand.  

  • Nature's love for patterns extends into the  animal kingdom with a multitude of designs.

  • All of these patterns seem disconnected. But  what if they weren't? My name is Natasha Allison.  

  • This is a story about how we can use  maths to understand more about nature.  

  • To try and help endangered  species throughout the world.

  • People have never really thought about  how did the animal get its coat markings?  

  • Why does this animal have one coat? Why  does that another coat? Can we understand

  • that? There was one person who wrote a theory  that gave us a whole new way of seeing nature,  

  • he was able to see that seemingly different  patterns might not be that different at all.  

  • His name was Alan Turing.  

  • Alan Turing may be best known  for decrypting German messages  

  • in World War II. Not only did he save many  lives, and create one of the first computers,  

  • he helped us understand patterns in nature.

  • And it was his thinking about  mathematics in this kind of way,  

  • that made him behind the first kinds  of mathematical biology research.  

  • The whole area of mathematical biology is about  understanding nature more using mathematics.  

  • Alan Turing wrote that patterns in nature perform  due to the reaction and spread of two chemicals.  

  • These chemicals are called an  activator, and an inhibitor.  

  • The activator encourages production of itselfwhilst the inhibitor slows the production of the  

  • activator. Showing both some special mathematical  conditions for this process to produce patterns,  

  • such as spots and stripes. We could explain  this using an analogy of fires and firefighters.  

  • If we imagine a really dry forest, so dry, that  fires are likely to randomly break out. We could  

  • prevent this by spreading firefighters across  the forest, waiting for the fires to appear.  

  • You can think of the firefighters as the  inhibitor chemical, stopping the activating  

  • fires producing more of themselves and  spreading out too far. As we predicted,  

  • fires break up. Now if the firefighters spread  much faster than the fires, they were able to stop  

  • the production and the spread of the fires. Which  leaves burn patches or sparks across the forest.  

  • That's how Turing patterns are created.

  • One of the things that this theory of cheering, I  think tells us his route cheering himself because  

  • it shows just what a far reaching and  inquiring and inventive mind he had.

  • And the sad thing is he he did this work. He  published his work in 1952 and he died 1954  

  • tragically had he lived. Where would we  know be in terms of our understanding of bio

  • But we can learn so much more from him.  

  • Researchers have used Turing theory to describe  how many things in the world get that pattern.  

  • We can see Turing patterns everywhere. From  a zebra stripes to a cheetah spots to the  

  • goosebumps on our skin, it's also been used to  understand more about how animals use their space.  

  • For example, in my research, I study how birds  move and why they live in the ranges and the  

  • territories that they live in. And instead of  chemicals, we look at the location of the animal,  

  • and the things that drive these  sensitive chemicals reacting together,  

  • our animal behaviors, such as an animal moving  away from scent marks or moving towards its den,  

  • or maybe moving towards prey. If we  understand why animals move in a certain way,  

  • maybe we can understand how best to protect themWhen humans are changing their habitat, so much  

  • could be used Turing theory to try and help  endangered species throughout the world.

  • When you have an encounter with a sharkif you look at it from the top, you just  

  • look at it, it seems like stars moving through  the water just gliding so effortlessly. And it's  

  • it's like looking at a constellation it's  just really beautiful patterns of the whale  

  • shark. Very interesting in that they these unique  patterns form the sharks individual spot pattern,  

  • and this unique spot pattern can be used  to then identify each individual shark.  

  • The whale shark research program is  an NGO that works in the Maldives to  

  • consult whale sharks in the area through  research and community mobilization.  

  • On our daily whale shark service, we go out on  the reef on the south area marine protected area.  

  • We take identification shots from the left  side, the right side and the top of the shark.  

  • And then we run it through a software called  Atreus which is linked to the database,  

  • and it gives us the closest matches to the shock  and then we are able to know which shark we saw.

  • Once the research team has a picture of a whale  shark, they use the spot pattern from the picture  

  • to decide which individual is and they use  a mathematical algorithm developed by NASA  

  • to decide the individual based on  the distance between all the spots.

  • So just by looking at these  spots, and patterns, we can then  

  • recognize a whole lot more  about each individual shot.

  • Collecting information about each individual whale  shark can help with understanding the movements of  

  • the shark, the geographical range of the sharkeven information about the lifespan of the shark,  

  • and help create protected areasthese endangered elusive creatures.

  • One example would be in helping us create  marine protected areas for the whale sharks,  

  • the South area marine protected area has been  

  • created with the use of data collected  mostly through photo identification.

  • We can use this data the team collected to be  able to write a mathematical model, which will  

  • help us predict the whale sharks population in the  world, which at the moment, we don't even have an  

  • estimation for we could find out more about why  the whale sharks prefer to swim according to  

  • different variables that the team collected, such  as temperature, wind speed, or current direction.

  • All of this from being able to identify them  

  • using that beautiful pattern. And it's  not just the well short research program.  

  • Organizations are now running projects of  jaguars and zebras to identify individuals  

  • using their patterns. Thanks to Turing patterns  in nature are beginning to reveal their secrets.  

  • He's shown us how to create  patterns we see in nature.  

  • And we've seen such an interesting way of  using them. If identifying individuals using  

  • that pattern, has already had such a positive  effect on the conservation of whale sharks  

  • by creating the marine protected areawhat else can we do? How much more  

  • does Turing's theory have to give? And where else  can we use it to understand more about our world

  • Now what inspired this filmLet's talk to the filmmakers.

  • Kriss Ceuca. I'm the filmmaker  from "A Natural Code."

  • I'm Dr. Natasha Ellison, and I'm a mathematical  ecologist from the University of Sheffield.

  • Finding the idea for a natural code was  mostly Natasha, because this brilliant,  

  • brilliant introduction into mathematical  ecology has everything to do with Natasha.

  • So, yeah, I was very lucky to meet Kriss. I've  been studying this kind of mathematics for a  

  • while now. And I always wanted to place to show  it to the general public. And when I met Kriss,  

  • she was so interested and she had so  many ideas about how to make this film,  

  • bring whale sharks into it, for  example. It's all Kriss' idea.  

  • So yeah, I got really lucky that that we were able  to make this together. And Kriss was so creative.

  • So it began when I was studying my masters in  mathematics. And I came across a paper by Alan  

  • Turing, which the film mentions, and lots of other  scientists have been studying it for years. And,  

  • and I think this whole thing attractive about  animal patterns isn't the leopards and zebras  

  • and things that really, really makes us want  to know more about them. And because I was a  

  • mathematician, and there was mathematics  behind this, it was just so interesting.

  • I know, it's even if it's a 10 minute documentaryit involved a lot of people collaborating, to be  

  • able to tell the story. So we collaborated with  a visual artists as well, for the patterns that  

  • were created, they are actually touring patterns  that you can see on the screen for the visuals,  

  • we also included some of the underwater  footage that we filmed in the Maldives  

  • with the whale sharks, they were done  in collaboration with the Maltese  

  • whale shark research program, that they are  working tirelessly from the boat every day,  

  • with volunteers. And with citizen science as  well. They've developed an app that was based,  

  • similar to the NASA algorithm to identify the  stars to identify individual whale sharks. So  

  • that was an amazing collaboration that we were  able to do because it was in a way, showing how  

  • science communication can- and science- can  can help endangered species around the world.

  • Something I'm working on now is is a project  with primary schools. So that's ages, age,  

  • like nine to 10, where what we're trying to  sort of show they're about Turing patterns,  

  • in the hope that you know, when they get into  the high school, and when they go on to study,  

  • if they do that, they'd be interested  in doing maths, and then, you know,  

  • we can push that sort of research area  forward. So I guess that's one of the most  

  • important things that the film is inspiring  younger people into these kind of areas.

  • For me, I have another wildlife  bill project coming up. So it'll be  

  • shorter, a longer version of it'll be  about 20 to 30 minutes. And it'll be about  

  • like Transylvania forest. It'll be  about deforestation and habitat loss.  

  • And also plants to like recover from  that. So how are young people involved  

  • into reforestation projects in Transylvaniathat's, that's the new project coming up.

  • As a scientist, who you know, has, I have limited  filmmaking experience or anything, nothing? Well,  

  • I've not made a film before myself. But finding  people like Chris to promote your research and  

  • be able to creatively show people, your ideas of  science is really important. You know, I could  

  • have sat down for months and months and learned  it myself. But that's, that's not helpful. It's  

  • helpful to go and seek out filmmakers and seek out  people that you're going to be able to work with.

  • And as Chris mentioned, in a previous  answer, to collaborate with people,  

  • these collaborations are really importantIf there's like any advice for upcoming  

  • science communicators or filmmakers, is I thinkremember why you're doing it. So every time  

  • you think maybe you you've lost your way or you  don't know how to do it or how to save better or  

  • why is it even worth it or everything is just  remember why you started it and what what's  

  • your passion for it because that's, I  think your biggest tool into science  

  • communication is like people are going to see  your passion for the subject and they want to,  

  • they want to they they will want to learn more  just because they will see that drive and passion  

  • in your eyes so just always go back to your inner  self when you when you don't know which way to go.

  • Doesn't this just make you want to get outside  and discover patterns in the nature around you?  

  • Thanks for watching Seeker Indie's premiere have  "A Natural Code." It's stories like these that  

  • can inspire more discoveries, more adventures and  new ideas that may one day help save our planet.

Sometimes nature is obvious and it's designand other times not so much. Patterns cover this  

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Scientists Find Our World Could Be Ruled By Secret Patterns | A Natural Code

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/29
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