How can insect odour-dependent systems adapt to changes in the environment? Environmental changes can be short or long term and must be met by adaptations at phenotypic or genotypic levels. The present project aims to study modulatory processes at different levels in insect chemical ecology, ethology and evolution, from single molecules to whole animals, from sensitisation and learning to evolution.
Examples of short-term modulation are the shutdown of host-seeking behaviour and odour perception in female mosquitoes after a blood meal, and moths and fruitflies learning to associate an odour with a reward or punishment. It also includes modulation of odour-mediated behavioural responses by co-occurring odour stimuli or by input from other sensory modalities. Short-term modulation of behaviour and its neural basis form one main focus of this proposal.
In addition to short-term effects, the olfactory system also adapts over generations through evolution. It can be pre-adapted for e.g. host shifts, or can be modified by selection pressures occurring after a host shift. Processes underlying evolutionary change in olfactory-driven behaviour, at levels from receptors to CNS form a second main focus.
In a multi-disciplinary approach we will study chemical, molecular, neurobiological and behavioural events to shed light on mechanisms underlying modulation in the systems studied, systems that also are excellent models of general principles in chemoreception.
In our projects we are working with six different model organisms:
To the description of each project >>>