Interdisciplinary Seminar in Nonlinear Science

Title: Congruence of sensing and locomotor volumes in an omnidirectional animal
Speaker: Malcolm MacIver
Speaker Info: Northwestern University
Brief Description:
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Sensory capabilities of an organism define a spatially restricted volume within which objects can be reliably detected. Motor capabilities independently define a volume within which rapid manoeuvres can be made and target objects can be promptly intercepted. Analysis of reconstructed electrosensory stimuli associated with prey capture behaviour of weakly electric fish reveals an omnidirectional sensing volume surrounding the body. Analysis of the fish's motor capabilities reveals a similarly shaped small-time locomotor volume that reflectsthe unusual manoeuvrability and backwards-swimming capabilities of these animals. The locomotor volume maximally overlaps the prey sensing volume when evaluated over a time interval of approximately 350 ms. We speculate that sensory and locomotor capabilities have coevolved to allow the animal to monitor the volume of space that can be reached within the time it takes for the animal to come to a complete stop. Quantitative analysis of locomotor volumes may provide a generally useful tool for analysing and interpreting sensory function in other organisms, and gives insights into the relationships between the sensing, locomotor, control, and planning aspects of animals and other autonomous agents.
Date: Friday, November 7, 2003
Time: 2:00PM
Where: Tech M416
Contact Person: Sara Solla
Contact email: solla@northwestern.edu
Contact Phone: 847-467-5080
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