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Desert Ant Navigation: Mini Brains - Mega Tasks - Smart Solutions
By Rüdiger Wehner
April 10, 2008

An internationally renowned behavioral biologist, Wehner holds a professorship in neurobiology with the University of Zurich, where he is the also the director of the Institute of Zoology. His research examines insect behavior and associated underlying neural systems related to sophisticated navigational tasks, including the complex visual mechanisms underlying skylight (polarized light) navigation, path integration and piloting by visual landmarks in ants, bees, crickets. His group examines a specialized neural module consisting of polarization-sensitive photoreceptors and interneurons, and other visual modules that detect color gradients in the sky, landmark panoramas along the skyline and self-induced image motion.

His work combines results of neurophysiological and behavioral approaches to design computer models and robotic implementations of animal behavior. He has authored or coauthored more than 95 publications since 1995, including publications in Science, Nature and Journal of Experimental Biology. His honors include elected membership in the German National Academy of Sciences "Leopoldina", the Austrian, Berlin-Brandenburg, Göttingen, Bavarian Academies of Sciences; the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin/M.); the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His awards include the Karl Ritter von Frisch Medal, Marcel Benoist Prize, Carus Medal of the German National Academy "Leopoldina", and Distinguished Scientist Award, University of California at Los Angeles, in addition to the King Faisal Prize.

Time and location:
Thursday, April 10, 2008
3:30 pm
Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity and School of Life Sciences
LSE, Room 104