Collective sensory experience drives olfactory coding

Abstract Honeybees are social foragers: they select flower species to collect nectar together, and thus optimize foraging yield. We know that learning the value of an odour influences how the brain codes that odour. Here we test the hypothesis that the collective decision for an odor improves the coding for that odour. We will follow each individual in a hive over her entire life span, recording (and manipulating) all flower visits, and monitoring all interactions with all sisters in the hive. We will then do optical imaging experiments on the olfactory system in the brain, in order to follow how olfactory coding mechanisms are influenced by the social life history of an individual. This project will employ techniques for neurophysiology, computer vision to track animals, bee behavior, optical imaging and large scale data analysis. You will bring expertise in at least one of these areas, and learn about all the others. You will combine behavioral experiments, calcium imaging and other physiological techniques, computer simulations and analysis.

We welcome candidates from a wide range of backgrounds (biology, engineering science, physics, computer science), but it is essential that candidates are motivated to understand biological phenomena and are willing to learn programming language-based data analysis. Candidates should hold a Master’s degree or an equivalent qualification. The research will be undertaken in the department of Neurobiology, University of Konstanz.

The University of Konstanz is an equal opportunity employer that is increasing the number of women in research and teaching. As family-friendly institution, it is committed to further the compatibility of work and family life and prefer disabled applicants when qualification is equal.

Interested candidates should apply online via the IMPRS application website. For further information about the project contact: Giovanni Galizia

Keywords olfactory coding, honeybees, calcium imaging, large data analysis, animal behaviour

Main advisor Giovanni Galizia, University of Konstanz

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