Prof. Shannon Olsson, Danish Academy of Technical Sciences
Prof. Shannon Olsson, Global Director of the Echo Network at the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences will present: "The insect mind"
One of the most important tasks for any organism is to identify objects in the world around them. All organisms must, for example, discriminate what to eat from what might eat them. Identifying complex objects in an even more complex world is a difficult task and lies at the heart of understanding how a brain makes sense of the world while foraging. Our group is interested in how insects identify objects in different environments and how they contend with the rapid changes our planet faces in the Anthropocene. Our work traverses Himalayan meadows, apple orchards, and even our own megacity of Bengaluru, India. By examining a variety of wild fly species in their native environments and in controlled settings such as virtual reality, we have identified some key features of insect object recognition that allow them to respond and adapt to rapidly changing conditions. Most importantly, we believe that understanding how insects make decisions can help us to understand ourselves and also help us to live not just in, but with the natural world around us.