Neuroscience

Articles and news from the latest research reports.

49 notes

Bumblebees are anything but bumbling: The insects quickly figure out the optimal route for visiting five far-flung flowers, a computational task that even human brains find challenging.
That result suggests that an elaborate mental map isn’t necessary to travel efficiently in unknown territory. Finding a way to mimic the bumblebee’s navigation system may allow programmers to develop robots that adeptly maneuver through unfamiliar places.
The new study, published online September 20 in PLOS Biology, pulls together several lines of previous research into one grand experiment. After training bumblebees to associate artificial flowers with a reward, scientists from the University of Sydney, Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, England and Queen Mary University of London arranged five flowers in a pentagon with sides 50 meters long. One at a time, bumblebees outfitted with a little radar antenna were released from the nest. The bees’ movements were tracked by radar, and motion-sensing cameras on the flowers recorded each visiting bee.
A computer analysis of the bees’ movements suggested that the insects were doing some quick comparing. If a bee went from flower A to B and later went from flower A to C, it would compare those routes, adding the one that was shorter to its itinerary and abandoning longer paths. The bees also made adjustments when a flower was moved to a different location. These results suggest that bees don’t need a big-picture map to search their surroundings, says team member Mathieu Lihoreau, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Sydney.
“It’s amazing that these little creatures are as flexible as they are and have evolved these solutions that make maximum use of these little brains they are carrying around,” says behavioral biologist Fred Dyer of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Bumblebees are anything but bumbling: The insects quickly figure out the optimal route for visiting five far-flung flowers, a computational task that even human brains find challenging.

That result suggests that an elaborate mental map isn’t necessary to travel efficiently in unknown territory. Finding a way to mimic the bumblebee’s navigation system may allow programmers to develop robots that adeptly maneuver through unfamiliar places.

The new study, published online September 20 in PLOS Biology, pulls together several lines of previous research into one grand experiment. After training bumblebees to associate artificial flowers with a reward, scientists from the University of Sydney, Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, England and Queen Mary University of London arranged five flowers in a pentagon with sides 50 meters long. One at a time, bumblebees outfitted with a little radar antenna were released from the nest. The bees’ movements were tracked by radar, and motion-sensing cameras on the flowers recorded each visiting bee.

A computer analysis of the bees’ movements suggested that the insects were doing some quick comparing. If a bee went from flower A to B and later went from flower A to C, it would compare those routes, adding the one that was shorter to its itinerary and abandoning longer paths. The bees also made adjustments when a flower was moved to a different location. These results suggest that bees don’t need a big-picture map to search their surroundings, says team member Mathieu Lihoreau, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Sydney.

“It’s amazing that these little creatures are as flexible as they are and have evolved these solutions that make maximum use of these little brains they are carrying around,” says behavioral biologist Fred Dyer of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Filed under bumblebees foraging foraging routes memory brain learning neuroscience psychology science

  1. fuckyeahbumblebees reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  2. the-mtheory reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  3. shedsumlight reblogged this from scientificthought
  4. khthonic reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  5. whereisthebepis reblogged this from scientificthought
  6. rotiferola reblogged this from scientificthought
  7. leftistnaija reblogged this from scientificthought
  8. scientificthought reblogged this from biognosis
  9. biognosis reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  10. xfuckyeahlife reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  11. fuckingurltakenbullshit reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  12. thescienceofficer reblogged this from an-airship-full-of-spiders
  13. an-airship-full-of-spiders reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  14. shark-butt-soup reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  15. robot-scientist reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  16. coffinbarf reblogged this from neurosciencestuff and added:
    Cooool!
  17. phroyd reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  18. godrednueth reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  19. heabuh reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  20. fuckyeahtherealkiki reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  21. neurosciencestuff posted this
free counters