Ant Navigation: How To Be A Champion Navigator With A Small Brain

Thursday 7th September, 2023 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Online via Zoom

Learn about how the neural and sensory mechanisms of ants facilitate their remarkable foraging skills.

Ant foragers are champion navigators capable of accurately repeating long journeys through complex cluttered terrain. Whilst social cues, such as chemical trails, can help navigation in some species. Most ants are capable of individual navigation, where each forager has a remarkable sense of direction, allied to sophisticated landmark learning, such that they can navigate huge distances between their nest and foraging areas.

Prof Paul Graham first became interested in Artificial Intelligence during a Psychology degree, specifically the prospect of capturing aspects of biological intelligence by mimicking insects. This led to a PhD at Sussex with Prof Tom Collett, where he studied spatial cognition in ants with the hope of understanding enough about ants to be able to build ant-inspired robots. 25 years later and he’s still studying ants and realising there is a lot to know before we can hope to build a robot half as smart as an ant. His ongoing research is interested in how neural and sensory mechanisms are tuned to an animal’s natural environment to produce their remarkable foraging behaviours.

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