Employing virtual reality to reveal individual locusts' decision-making

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2020
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Zusammenfassung

Animals are constantly faced with choices where to feed, move next, or search for night shelter. Appropriate choices maximize survival and reproductive success. Research on decision-making in animals has mainly focused on which choice animals make, rather than on how they choose. In collectives, the mechanism of decision-making has been studied extensively in the last twenty years, yet little is known about the underlying mechanism in the individual's brain. Sridhar et al. (in prep) propose a neuronal model that describes the underlying mechanism of an individual's decision-making process. It predicts animals to average the direction of presented targets, moving in the centroid direction. As the angle between targets increases, the animal bifurcates at a critical angle, and eventually turns towards one of the targets. Multi-choice situations are then broken down to binary choices, successively eliminating choices, and resulting in a multi-bifurcation pattern. Sridhar et al. validate the model experimentally in Drosophila melanogaster, yet with kinematic limitations. Here, I tested the model's spatial and kinematic predictions of decision-making in the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria. In a state-of-the-art virtual reality system, I presented freely walking individual locusts with equally attractive targets. In accord with the model's predictions, locusts made decisions in a (multi-)bifurcation pattern. These cross-species results suggest that the model represents a generic, species-unspecific algorithm, robust across scales and therefore applicable to both individual and collective decision-making.

Zusammenfassung in einer weiteren Sprache
Fachgebiet (DDC)
570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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virtual reality for animals, VR, decision-making, locusts, Schistocerca gregaria
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ISO 690SCHELL, Bianca R., 2020. Employing virtual reality to reveal individual locusts' decision-making [Master thesis]. Konstanz: Universität Konstanz
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@mastersthesis{Schell2020Emplo-51450,
  year={2020},
  title={Employing virtual reality to reveal individual locusts' decision-making},
  address={Konstanz},
  school={Universität Konstanz},
  author={Schell, Bianca R.}
}
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Konstanz, Universität Konstanz, Masterarbeit/Diplomarbeit, 2020
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