Aktiv detektion av små snabba objekt
Tidsperiod: 2013-01-01 till 2015-12-31
Budget: 1 950 000 SEK
As an animal moves through the world, its own movement generates widefield optic flow across the visual field used to e.g. maintain a straight trajectory or to avoid obstacles. Many animals can also disambiguate the motion of objects that move independently of the remaining visual surround. The underlying mechanisms that allow sensory systems to extract salient features from noisy surrounds are still poorly understood, despite being important for several senses. The visual detection of target motion is an interesting example of such feature extraction: It is computationally challenging, but evidently solved by nature, as evidenced by the aerobatic and sophisticated flight behavior performed by insects during conspecific interactions or prey capture, despite carrying low-resolution compound eyes and small brains. Since insects are physiologically accessible for in vivo recordings of single neurons, such as exquisitely tuned target neurons, they provide an excellent model system for investigating the mechanisms underlying sensory selectivity. In this proposal we will focus on three main questions that together address 1) the behavioral adaptations and 2) the neuronal architecture that work to optimize the detectability of behaviorally relevant targets, despite 3) the environmental constraints, such as visual clutter, imposed on the system.