Pervasive computing systems can bemodelled effectively as populations of interacting autonomous components. The key challenge to realizing suchmodels is in getting separatelyspecified and -developed sub-systems to discover and interoperate with each other in an open and extensible way, supported by appropriate middleware services. In this paper, we argue that nature-inspired coordination models offer a promising way of addressing this challenge.We first frame the various dimensions alongwhich nature-inspired coordination models can be defined, and survey themost relevant proposals in the area.We describe the nature-inspired coordination model developed within the SAPERE project as a synthesis of existing approaches, and show how it can effectively support the multifold requirements of modern and emerging pervasive services. We conclude by identifying what we think are the open research challenges in this area, and identify some research directions that we believe are promising. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.