News

2017

  • Duncan joins us to start a Masters in Research program. His research will focus on the changes in neural architecture as ants acquire information (July 2017)
  • Ajay and Yuri are awarded a 3-year research grant from The Hermon Slade Foundation to investigate ant ocelli (June 2017)
  • Ajay, Fleur Ponton, Josh Madin and Drew Allen were awarded a 2-year research grant from MQ Species Spectrum Centre to study metabolic rates in ants (June 2017)
  • Ravi returns from a longish field trip with tonnes of video footage! (May 2017)
  • Yuri, in her latest paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology characterises the spectral and polarisation sensitivities of the honeybee ocelli. (February 2017)
  • Ajay and Fiorella have a new paper in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B to demonstrate that ants active in dim light detect very subtle changes to their landmark panorama. (February 2017)
  • Together with Ken Cheng and Cody Freas, Ajay has a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology demonstrating the compass cues used by the nocturnal Myrmecia midas. (February 2017)
  • Ajay is presenting at the Low Spatial Resolution Vision symposium at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Conference, New Orleans (January 2017)
  • Alex (re)joins us as an RA. She will be working with Franne helping with filming nocturnal ants. (January 2017)
  • Zach joins us for his 2nd year MRes program to study the variation in brain architecture in day- and night-active Myrmecia ants.

2016

  • Franne, Andy Barron and Ajay are awarded an MQ Research Development Grant to investigate the neural circuitry involved in visual navigation (November 2016)
  • Ravi heads out to Canberra for his second field season.  (November 2016)
  • Yuri Ogawa Kato joins us as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Yuri has arrived from Perth (UWA) and will be studying the physiological properties of visual system of ants. Welcome Yuri! (November 2016)
  • Franne has a new paper in Proceedings B identifying the neural operation cost in ants (October 2016). Well done JFK!
  • Ravi wins NSW Office of Environment and Heritage/ Ecological Society of Australia’s award for outstanding outreach for 2016.
  • Ravi wins the 3-minute student talk award at ASSAB 2016!
  • Ravi wins the Barbara Rice Award for Best
    Ravi dazzles everybody with his talk about ant miniaturisation

    Ravi dazzles everybody with his talk on ant miniaturisation

    presentation for field-based research (June 2016)

  • Ravi is gearing up to attend the Ant Course 2016 in Mozambique! (June 2016)
  • Stanley Heinze from University of Lund visited us for a few days to develop the ant electrophysiology setup (May 2016)
  • We have a new article in Scientific Reports quantifying the extent of the dorsal rim area in flying and walking ants. It also includes possibly the first ever anatomical descriptions of ant ocelli. (March 2016)
  • Together with Andrew Barron, Ken Cheng, Nathan Hart and Jennifer Cornish, we were awarded an MQ Research Infrastructure Block Grant (>90K) to develop an intracellular electrophysiology rig. (Feb 2016)
  • Dr Franne Kamhi joins us as a Postdoctoral Fellow to investigate the neurobiological basis of ant navigation. Franne recently graduated from Boston University where she studied the neuroecology of social organisation in the Weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina. (Feb 2016)

2015

  • Ravindra Nettimi joins us as a PhD student to study behavioural implications of being tiny (Oct 2015)
  • We have a new article in Scientific Reports on tandem running in ants in their natural conditions. A short video clip about it is here. (June 2015).
  • In a new article in Proceedings of the Royal Society B we show that the charismatic Australian ants, Myrmecia, have three spectral sensitivities (June 2015).
  • New article in Journal of Comparative Physiology A demonstrating cool methods for reconstructing the navigational information available for insects (April 2015).
  • Jochen and Ajay will be giving talks at the Symposium, Ecology, Sensory Processes and Cognition, at Macquarie University on Feb 7, 2015 (January 2015)

2014

  • Chloé submits her Masters thesis in which she addresses the role of vision in head stabilisation in the nocturnal Myrmecia. (December 2014)
  • Jochen and Ajay together with Andy Barron, Ken Cheng and Rüdiger Wehner are awarded a four-year ARC Discovery project grant to develop a virtual reality arena for navigating ants (November 2014)
  • Jochen Zeil and Wolfgang Stürzl are awarded a three-year ARC Discovery project grant to understand the choreography and development of learning flights in insects (November 2014)
  • Jochen, Willi and Ajay wrote a chapter on Polarization Vision in Hymenopterans in the second edition of Polarized Light and Polarization Vision in Animal Sciences. (November 2014).
  • Sara submits her beautifully crafted Honours thesis on ‘Visual and Chemoreceptive Adaptations for Dim Light in nocturnal Myrmecia ants’. Well done Sara! (October 2014)
  • Jochen Zeil and Jan Hemmi write a chapter on Path Integration, Vision and Decision-making in Fiddler Crabs in Crustacean Nervous Systems and their Control of Behavior(October 2014)
  • Ajay is awarded a four-year Future Fellowship by the Australian Research Council (July 2014)
  • Fiorella gets her first publication! She describes the antennal sensory array of the night-active bull ant, Myrmecia pyriformis with stunning high magnification SEM images. Keep a look out for it in Arthropod Structure and Development. (July 2014)
  • Chloé was awarded the Runner-up prize for her talk on head stabilisation in ants at the ASSAB conference, Katoomba (July 2014)
  • Sara Wood won the National Indigenous Legal Student of the year and attended the gala award ceremony in Brisbane (June 2014)
  • Chloé Raderschall won the Heiligenberg Travel Award to present her work at the 2014 Neuroethology meeting in Japan (June 2014)
  • Patrick Schultheiss joins the lab. Patrick previously worked on search strategies of Melophorus ants at Macquarie University (March 2014)
  • Sara Wood joins the lab to start her Honours program. Sara will use Golgi-Electron microscopy techniques to identify dendritic fields of the visual fibres in the lamina in nocturnal and diurnal Myrmecia ants. (Jan 2014)
  • Together with Eric Warrant and his lab members, a few of us went for a walk up a couple of mountains to watch the resting places of the cool Bogong moths. Pictures here. (Jan 2014)

2013

  • Caela handed in her Special Topics report where together with Fiorella she studied obstacle avoidance in crepuscular ants, Myrmecia pyriformis. (Nov 2013)
  • Willi Ribi and Ladina Ribi are visiting us from November-March. With Willi we will be carrying out significant amount of histological investigations into insect eyes and ocelli and with Ladina we are eagerly looking forward for her wonderful scientific illustrations of Australian ants.
  • Wolfgang Rössler and Franziska Schmitt from the University of Würzburg are visiting during November-December to do some behavioural experiments with Myrmecia ants.
  • Rebecca Readhead is back in our lab to carry out part of her Honours research. She will be identifying aggression levels between colonies of several Myrmecia ants. (Sep 2013).
  • New MS: Jochen and Ali have a manuscript accepted in the Journal of Comparative Neurology on compound eye design of the fiddler crab Uca vomeris. (Sep 2013).
  • New MS: Jochen with Ajay and Wolfgang has an article accepted in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B on gaze direction in jack jumper ants, specifically addressing how they decide where to go. (Aug 2013)
  • New MS: Two articles on the intertidal ant, Polyrhachis sokolova have been accepted. One, addresses navigation strategies (in J Exp Biol) and the other describes the eye structure of these ants (in PLoS ONE). (Aug 2013)
  • Caela Welsh joins the lab to work on obstacle avoidance in ants as part of her ASC project. (Aug 2013)
  • New MS: We have a new article in Myrmecological News on the spatial and temporal foraging patterns of jack jumper ants (Aug 2013)
  • Few of us from the lab will be in Sweden attending the Invertebrate vision conference. (Aug 2013)
  • Chloé visits Wolfgang Rössler’s lab in Germany to learn some neuroanatomical techniques. She will also be in Peru for the Ant course! (July-Sep, 2013)
  • New MS: Sam with Ajay, Bob and Jochen has an article accepted in Aus J Zoology – all about foraging ecology of the night active Myrmecia pyriformis.
  • New MS: Ajay, Sarah and Jochen have a new article in Proceedings B on mapping the navigational knowledge of jack jumper ants. (May 2013)
  • Fiorella starts her PhD program (March 2013)

2012

  • Fiorella just submitted her Honours thesis tackling the sensory costs of miniaturisation in ants. (October, 2012).
  • Chloé begins her degree to investigate the role of ocelli in ants. (October, 2012)
  • Ajay and Chloe back from a field trip to Townsville. In collaboration with Simon Robson, we began to tackle the navigation strategies of the swimming ants, Polyrhachis sokolava in the mudflats of Townsville. (May, 2012)
  • Fiorella Ramirez-Esquivel starts her Honours project studying sensory structures in different sized ants. (Feb 2012)
  • Marc Seid from University of Scranton from US, visits us for 3-weeks to study ant brains. (Jan 2012)
  • Willi Ribi from Private University of Liechtenstein is back! Willi is here for 3-months to carry out histological research studying ant eyes and ocelli. (Jan 2012)

2011

  • Wolfgang Stürzl arrives from Münich to continue our quest of imaging the environment in 3D (Dec 2011)
  • We excavated our first nest of the jack jumper ant, Myrmecia croslandi, possibly a world’s first! (Dec 2011)
  • Chloé Raderschall joins the ant group as a Research Assistant funded by the Hermon Slade Foundation (January 2011)
  • Katherine Gill joins the ant group as a short term visitor (Jan 2011)
  • New paper on nocturnal bull ant navigation is out in J Experimental Biology (Jan 2011)

2010

  • New paper on visual structures of ants is out in the Proceedings B!! (October 2010)
  • Attending the Neuroethology meeting, IUSSI & Ant Course (August 2010)
  • Sarah Gourmaud heads back to France after a super productive 6-month stint in our group. (June, 2010)
  • Ajay and Jochen get a 3-year research grant from Hermon Slade Foundation for a project on the jack jumper ants. (May 2010)

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