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Science Advisory Board

Holk Cruse, Professor University of Bielefeldt

Basically, my scientific interests concern how brains control behavior, i.e. how brains control complex movements. Pursuing this goal, we concentrate on control of walking in multi-legged animals, insects and crustaceans. Behavioural studies including walking on various substrates are accompanied by simulation studies on the basis of artificial neural networks. The resulting network, called Walknet, represents an extremely decentralized system able to control a body with many extra degrees of freedom and to simulate a large number of behavioural findings.
The properties of the simulation system are tested on simulated and physical robots, which is necessary because the body (plus the environment) is considered an essential element of the computational system.

This neural architecture has later been equipped with a further network, Navinet, that enables the robot to perform insect-like navigation (path integration, landmark navigation) without using a “cognitive map”.

More recently, we have expanded this network by a body model to allow internal simulation of behavior. This ability is used to test a newly invented behavior via “internal trial-and-error” before it will be performed in reality. This system, called reaCog, is considered to show cognitive properties based on reactive structures and is claimed to be endowed with emergent properties as are intention, volition, attention and some aspects of consciousness.

Kerstin Johannesson, Professor University of Gothenburg

Professor in Marine Ecology, director of the Linnaeus Research Centre in Marine Evolutionary Biology (CeMEB) and coordinator of EU-BONUS research programme BaltGene. Performs research on how new species are formed.
Using snails and macroalga as model organisms I search for the mechanisms that promote the formation of new species using tools from population genetics, ecological genomics and behavioural ecology.

Recent findings include the identification of a recent speciation event in the Baltic Sea – the formation of the endemic macroalgae Fucus radicans, and description of behavioural and ecological mechanisms leading to repeated formation of strongly reproductively isolated ecotypes of the marine snail Littorina saxatilis.

Marilyn Ramenofsky, Professor University of California

I am fascinated by the interplay of environmental signals and the physiological and behavioral expressions of organisms and primarily those of migratory birds. As migration is the movement to and away from areas where species breed, each trip is composed of multiple steps or substages that involve regulation of the neuroendocrine, endocrine, metabolic, and behavioral systems. During these trips, organisms are exposed to a wide range environmental conditions that include photoperiod, atmospheric and climatic, food availability, predation and unpredictable perturbations. Thus, in order for migrants to be successful they rely on environmental information to cue progression of each substage. Migrants therefore can serve as an effective model for studying how organisms rely on environmental conditions and respond to unpredictable changes such as global climate fluctuations. 

Former studies in my lab have focused on the effects of photoperiod, lunar condition, food availability and stressors on migratory specific characteristics that include migratory behavior (behavior that includes migratory restlessness, feeding, land locomotor activity) and measures of the endocrine and metabolic systems.

My other studies include vocal communication of nocturnal migrants, role of experience and geomagnetic field on orientation during migration, endogenous rhythms and migratory behavior, effects of prolonged migratory restlessness on the endocrine and metabolic systems.

Currently we are using  the migrant/resident model present in the Pacific White-crowned Sparrows subspecies (Zonotrichia leucophrys) to compare the physiological and behavioral traits attributed to the migratory life history and assess whether these features are present in residents and may be considered more in seasonal terms rather then strictly migratory.

Steven Reppert, Professor University of Massachusetts Medical School

Professor Steven M. Reppert, MD, is the Higgins Family Professor of Neuroscience and founding Chair of the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

In an integrated set of studies, the Reppert laboratory is using anatomical, cellular, molecular, electrophysiological, genetic and behavioral approaches to more fully understand the mechanisms underlying the spectacular fall migration of the eastern North American monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), with a focus on the butterfly's navigational abilities and its distinctive circadian Clock.

Rüdiger Wehner, Professor University of Zürich

Rüdiger Wehner’s research revolves around the neuroethological analysis of insect vision and visually guided behaviour. His multidisciplinary approach combines neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and behavioural analyses with computer simulations and robotic implementations. By focussing on one group of organisms, the desert ant Cataglyphis, he has
rendered this insect a model organism in the study of animal navigation. At Zurich University Rüdiger Wehner has served for more than two decades as the Director of the Institute of
Zoology, which he converted into a well recognized multifaceted institution of biological research and teaching spanning the range from molecular developmental genetics in Drosophila to vertebrate behaviour.

Christer Wiklund, Professor University of Stockholm

Professor in Animal Ecology, Department of Zoology at Stockholm University.

The general aim of my research is to combine theoretical and empirical studies to gain an understanding of adaptations and constraints in insect life history evolution, and the biological importance of sexually antagonistic coevolution.

Males and females have asymmetric interests with respect to mating rate which underlie sexually antagonistic coevolution. In butterflies mating males transfer to females a spermatophore that contains two kinds of sperm (eupyrene, fertilizing, sperm, and apyrene, non-fertilizing, sperm), nutrients, anti-aphrodisiac pheromones and seminal fluid proteins, aka ”sex-peptides”, that can influence female receptivity and egg-laying rate. One objective of my research is to explore the consequences of sexually antagonistic coevolution with respect to male transfer of two kinds of sperm and sex-peptides, and to explore how female monandrous and polyandrous lifestyles relate to sexual conflict and environmental variation with particular reference to female dispersal.

I also pursue three additional projects:

  • the evolutionary ecology of insect host plant generalization/specialization in relation to habitat and adult preference/larval performance relationships.
  • adaptive coloration in butterflies in the context of anti-predator defense, with particular reference to the intimidating role of large eyespots, the deflective role of smaller marginal eyespots and false head patterns, and multimodal defence.
  • territoriality in butterflies – in particular what factors decide contest outcome.
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Science Advisory Board

Holk Cruse, Professor University of Bielefeldt
holk [dot] cruse [at] uni-bielefeld [dot] de
Kerstin Johannesson, Professor University of Gothenburg
kerstin [dot] johannesson [at] marine [dot] gu [dot] se
Marilyn Ramenofsky, Professor University of California
mramenofs [at] ucdavis [dot] edu
Steven Reppert, Professor University of Massachusetts Medical School
Steven [dot] Reppert [at] umassmed [dot] edu
Rüdiger Wehner, Professor University of Zürich
rwehner [at] zool [dot] uzh [dot] ch
Christer Wiklund, Professor University of Stockholm
christer [dot] wiklund [at] zoologi [dot] su [dot] se

Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden