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Anupama Nayak Manel

How do animals know what they know and see what they see? I'm fascinated by the diversity of sensory modules in animals and want to understand how an animal's interactions with its natural environment shapes its perception.

For my project, I will study flying pollinators like hawkmoths and bumblebees. In order to describe the underlying mechanisms and ecological dependencies, I will use quantitative behavioral experiments and modelling. My aim here is to outline the algorithmic basic of spatial vision by making sense of shapes and patterns, and to replicate the world as seen by bugs.

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My research

For my PhD, I will investigate spatial vision in insect pollinators. Insects make fascinating models to to map out the intricate process of vision. They process and navigate the same complex environments that we as humans do, except with more limited energy and neural resources. This prompts me to ask what kind of visual features these small brains process to tell a flower from a leaf. Additionally, visually driven processes can involve an interplay of higher order cognitive abilities like learning, and memory. Particularly in foraging insects where experience and association can shape visual descrimination. Here, I will also explore the intersections of innate sensory preference and learned plasticity.

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