Event Details

Wednesday, 11 May 2016 - Wednesday, 11 May 2016
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
QBI Level 7 Auditorium
UQ Location:
Queensland Brain Institute (St Lucia)
Event category(s):

Event Contact

Ms Deirdre Wilson
3346 6300
Org. Unit:
Queensland Brain Institute

Event Description

Full Description:
Dr Stanley Heinze

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Lund University, Sweden

Title: Merging information about direction and distance - the bee central complex as plausible neural substrate for path integration

Abstract: The most fundamental operation carried out by animal brains is to compare the current state of the world to a desired state of the world and to initiate compensatory actions in the case of mismatch, i.e. to drive behavior. In a navigational context this process is represented by comparing the current body orientation of the animal with a desired heading in order to initiate turning movements. One remarkable navigational strategy in the animal world is path integration, during which an animal leaves a centrally placed nest on a convoluted foraging trip, but returns home in a straight line, along a homing vector of correct direction and length. Decades of work have revealed that foraging bees calculate the direction and length of the homing vector by using the sun and polarized skylight as a compass, and movement-generated translational optic flow across the retina as an odometer. However, the neural substrate underlying this computation has to date remained elusive. Using intracellular electrophysiology we discovered compass neurons sensitive to polarized light and putative odometer-neurons sensitive to translational optic flow that converge in the central complex of the bee brain, suggesting this region as the neural substrate for path integration. Indeed, a circuit model combining the intricate connectivity patterns of these neurons with their physiological response characteristics results in a fully functional path integrator that closely matches the logic of an autonomously evolved technical solution to path integration. The proposed central-complex circuit is not only relevant to path integration, but to all situations in which current and desired headings have to be compared to initiate behavior, and therefore suggests a general neural mechanism for all navigational decisions in insects.

Directions to UQ

Google Map:
To St Lucia Campus, UQ Ipswich, and UQ Gatton.

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