Biologisches Kolloquium


15. Januar 2020 17:15 – 15. Januar 2020 18:15

Großer Hörsaal

Directional hearing in insects: Biophysical, physiological and ecological challenges

When insects communicate by sound, or use acoustic cues to escape predators or detect prey or hosts they have to localize the sound in most cases, to perform adaptive behavioral responses. Insects equipped with bilateral pairs of ears could principally make use of binaural cues for sound localization, like all other animals and humans with two ears. However, their small size is a major problem to create sufficiently large interaural time and intensity differences, which creates biophysical challenges for sound localization. Another problem is the intrinsic noise in nervous systems, and the fact that insects often have to base their behavioural decisions on only a small number of neurons. And finally, acoustic behaviour did not, and does not evolve in a sound proof room, but in the natural environment, where cues for localization may be strongly affected when signals travel from sender to receiver. In my talk I will present the sophisticated solutions for these problems, in insect taxa as small as a fruit fly up to large rainforest katydids, and how they localize a sound source even in the third dimension.


Prof. Dr. Heiner Römer
Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz