Bee brain neuronal network responsible for navigation

Bee brain neuronal network responsible for navigation

 

Thursday, 5 October, 2017
Professor Barbara Webb (Institute of Perception, Action & Behaviour, Informatics) has published a paper in Current Biology demonstrating that specific neuronal networks in the brains of bees are responsible for their ability to navigate home in a straight line. How bees use visual inputs to navigate has been revealed with the discovery of neuronal network in the 'central complex' that detects speed and direction.  Researchers monitored nerve function in the brains of nocturnal rainforest bees by attaching tiny electrode to the bees' heads as the insects were shown virtual reality simulations of their flying environment. They then combined this data with structural information about the bee's neuronal connections to develop a detailed computer map of their brain which they tested in simulated bee and on a robot. The findings could lead to the development of new algorithms for navigation in autonomous robots that do not require GPS or expensive computer systems.