Neural bases of honeybee visual information processing and locomotion control

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Biomedical Science

Abstract

Photoreceptors represent light changes through their synaptic transmission. Postsynaptic interneurones then encode these messages into responses that represent similarities and differences of real-world objects consistently. When the world seems noisy (in dim light), it is best captured by summing up its events slowly, as this increases the reliability of vision. But when the world is unambiguous (in bright light), it is important to enhance its differences fast, as this best utilises the neurones' limited channel capacity. Thus, to maximise information flow, neural representations of the world should adapt to its changing statistics. Although photoreceptor synapses have been implied to follow these coding rules, the mechanisms underpinning their adaptive information processing remain a mystery.

The aim of this P.D.-project is to quantify and model how quantal synaptic information transfer in honeybee photoreceptor synapses adapts to changing light conditions. By using electrophysiological approaches while monitoring behavior in novel virtual reality systems and mathematical modelling, the student will investigate how pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms are tuned together to maximise synaptic information transfer and how this information is represented and distributed for the bee visual perception. We anticipate that such knowledge would have direct impact in guiding the design of future neural implants, other biomimetic devises and robotic vision.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011151/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
1945521 Studentship BB/M011151/1 30/09/2017 01/01/2022 Ben Scales
 
Description Behavioural evidence for extremely fine 3D vision in the fruit fly, this is the ability to process 3D information from two 2D images
Exploitation Route New insights into how the eyes and brain capture and process 3D information can be used in robotics.
Sectors Education

 
Title A new high-speed camera/microscope system for measuring in vivo photomechanical photoreceptors contractions across the Drosophila compound eyes 
Description We designed and built a new instrument that allows one to measure in vivo photomechanical photoreceptors contractions across the Drosophila compound eyes. The system uses stepping motor-based two-axis goniometers to rotate a fly along the centre of its head under IR-illumination while stimulating selected photoreceptors through the compound eye lens systems and recording the resulting photomechanical movements. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This system is now used to produce data about how compound eyes enable stereovision that we intend to publish shortly. 
 
Title Software code used in Li et al (2019) Ca2+-activated K+ channels reduce network excitability, improving adaptability and energetics for transmitting and perceiving sensory information. Journal of Neuroscience 
Description Code to reproduce the model simulations in Li et al (2019) Ca2+-activated K+ channels reduce network excitability, improving adaptability and energetics for transmitting and perceiving sensory information. Journal of Neuroscience. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2019 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Code to reproduce the model simulations in Li et al (2019) Ca2+-activated K+ channels reduce network excitability, improving adaptability and energetics for transmitting and perceiving sensory information. Journal of Neuroscience. The software can be easily adapted to other invertebrate photoreceptor models. 
URL https://www.jneurosci.org/content/39/36/7132
 
Description Invited talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster." 16.03.2019. Technical University of Hefei, China. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 25 Scientists attended my invited talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster." 16.03.2019. Technical University of Hefei, China. This lead to lively discussions and planned collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster." 19.12.2019. Harbin University of Technology, Harbin, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact About 200 people attended my talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster." 19.12.2019. Harbin University of Technology, Harbin, China. This led to a lively discussion and plans to collaborate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://rwxy.hit.edu.cn/2019/1217/c6938a234766/page.htm
 
Description Invited talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster." 23.05.2019. Fudan University (Engineering), Shanghai, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact About 150 people attended my invited talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster." 23.05.2019. Fudan University, Shanghai, China. This led to lively discussions and plans for future collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster." 27.09.2019. Fudan University (Biology), Shanghai, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact About 50 scientists attended my talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster." 27.09.2019. Fudan University (Biology), Shanghai, China. THis led to lively discussions and plans to collaborate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster." 09.08.2019. International Conference on Invertebrate Vision, B├Ąckaskog Castle, Lund, Sweden 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact ~350 scientists attended my talk "Hyperacute stereovision in fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster." 09.08.2019. International Conference on Invertebrate Vision, Bäckaskog Castle, Lund, Sweden. The talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.iciv.se/
 
Description Invited talk: Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster. 25.09.2019. Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact About 25 people attended my invited talk: "Hyperacute stereovision in Fruit fly, Drosophila melangaster." 25.09.2019. Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. This led to lively discussions and plans for collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019