|Date and Time||April 23, 2010, 9 p.m.|
|Location||Singleton Auditorium, MIT Room 46-3002|
Andrew Straw, Senior Postdoctoral Scholar
California Institute of Technology, Bioengineering
Abstract: Flight is a particularly challenging form of locomotion, because a flying animal must control its motion in three dimensions. Extensive work on insects, the first animals to evolve active flight, has revealed several visually-mediated reflexes that control horizontal course, but little is known of the sensory signals used to regulate altitude. Using a 3D virtual reality environment in which we could automatically track flies and present them with arbitrary visual patterns, we found that animals use three reflexes – edge tracking, wide-field stabilization, and expansion avoidance – to control altitude. They do not regulate altitude using visual motion beneath them, as suggested by one recent theory. The results identify a remarkable correspondence between the sensory-motor algorithms used to regulate motion in the horizontal and vertical domains. Future work will use genetic mosaic techniques to identify the cells involved in this algorithmic correspondence.
There are no comments yet