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DEC 10 | Michael Dickinson, California Institute of Technology

TITLE: “How Flies Find Stuff”

Audience: HOST: Iain Couzin

Location: 10 Guyot Hall

Date/Time: 12/10/09 at 12:30 pm - 12/10/09 at 1:30 pm

ABSTRACT: The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, suffers a rather poor reputation as a pesky lab rat, better known for its rapid breeding chromosome number than for its behavioral repertoire. Independent of their utility as model genetic organisms, however, fruit flies are also noted for their extraordinary evolutionary radiation. The research in my laboratory focuses on the sensory ethology of fruit flies, treating these tiny insects not simply as convenient laboratory models, but as real animals that have evolved a successful life history pattern. The goal of this work is to try to deconstruct the animal's behavior into a sequence of sensory-motor modules. My talk will focus on several visually-mediated components of behavior including take-off, navigation, predator avoidance, landing, and local exploration, as well as components of social behavior that ensue whenever two or more flies alight on the same piece of rotting fruit. Dickinson's WEBSITE: http://www.dickinson.caltech.edu/

Category: EEB 522 Colloquium

Department: EEB