Elisabeth Adam

   Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology
   Odor-guided behavior
 Phone:+49 (0)3641 57 1412Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
 Fax:+49 (0)3641 57 1402Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
  emailD-07745 Jena

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Most living organisms have three basic needs – food, shelter and reproduction. During my PhD, I want to investigate the role of olfaction in satisfying those needs. To elucidate how olfactory cues drive the behaviors linked to basic needs, I work with different insect species known for their foraging, navigational or courtship behavior.

Basic need food: In my first project, I investigate the role of olfactory sensilla on the proboscis (i.e. tongue) of the hawkmoth Manduca sexta. The moth is a known pest species in the US and visits flowering plants during the night time to feed from their nectar. Although it is known that these moths are able to learn olfactory cues with their antennae, the function of the olfactory sensilla on the proboscis has not been elucidated. I want to find out whether these sensilla are involved in flower associated odor learning.

Basic need shelter: In my second project, I want to know whether closely related ant species inhabiting different habitats use similar strategies to recognize their nest entrance. The desert ant Cataglyphis fortis inhabits the barren environment of the Tunisian salt pans. Previous work has shown that this species is able to associate olfactory cues with the entrance of their nest. I investigate whether Cataglyphis noda, a species found in the arid areas of Greece, is able to use olfactory cues in a similar way to recognize their nest.

Basic need reproduction: In my third project, I want to find out how female fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are able to select their perfect mate. In fruit flies usually the female chooses the male and ultimately allows copulation. It has been shown that olfactory cues play a role in the decision process. I want to know how Drosophila melanogaster females are able to differentiate between males of different fly species according to olfactory cues. I investigate this by looking at the first olfactory processing center of the fly brain (the antennal lobe) using a technique called calcium imaging. By analyzing the antennal lobe activity of a female fly that is exposed to the odor of conspecific and allospecific males, I test, whether, based on this activity, conspecific and allospecific odors can already be discriminated.
last updated on 2020-12-17