Collective Behaviour - Summer Seminar Series 2022

Hawkmoth neuroethology - from flower inspection to pattern recognition

Anna Stöckl, Biozentrum University of Würzburg / Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz

This event is part of an event series „CASCB Seminar Series Summer 2022“.

Insect visual systems perform remarkable feats, extending in sensitivity to dim starlight and rapidly processing complex temporal and spatial stimuli. Their output provides the basis for intricate locomotor control, as well as crucial behavioural decisions. This is exemplified by insect pollinators, which inspect and choose-between suitable flowers, using features such as colour, shape or patterns to decide which flowers to approach. The neural basis underlying these abilities sheds light on the efficient processing strategies implemented in their miniature brains, and provides a model for robust visuo-motor control. To reveal the neural processing underlying visually guided behaviour in insects, we use a unique model system, which operates across all terrestrial light conditions, employs different flight modes, and shows keen learning abilities: the hawkmoth family.

Here, I will present data from current projects on the role of patterns for flower inspection, which demonstrate that hawkmoths use patterns to guide their proboscis towards the nectary of a flower using visual control. To choose suitable flowers, hawkmoths rely innately on visual patterns. Our preliminary data demonstrates that they recognise patterns even when they are altered in orientation, size or contrast. These observations form the basis for my upcoming project to understand the neural basis of invariant pattern recognition in the insect brain.

Anna Stöckl studied biology in Heidelberg and has a master's degree in neuroscience from LMU Munich. She received her PhD from Lund University in Sweden in 2016 for her work Neurons against Noise: neural adaptations for dim light vision in hawkmoths. During a postdoc at Finland's Aalto University she studied visual signal processing in the retina of mice. In 2018, Anna located to University of Würzburg as a research fellow. In 2021, she was awarded both with an DFG Emmy Noether grant and the Maria‐Weber‐Grant by the Hans Böckler Foundation. Anna is looking forward to move to Uni Konstanz in 2022 and to join CASCB as an affiliate member.

Datum: 2022-06-20