The neurobiology of insect olfaction

Sensory processing in a comparative context

Joshua P. Martin, Aaron Beyerlein, Andrew M. Dacks, Carolina E. Reisenman, Jeffrey A. Riffell, Hong Lei, John G. Hildebrand

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

107 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The simplicity and accessibility of the olfactory systems of insects underlie a body of research essential to understanding not only olfactory function but also general principles of sensory processing. As insect olfactory neurobiology takes advantage of a variety of species separated by millions of years of evolution, the field naturally has yielded some conflicting results. Far from impeding progress, the varieties of insect olfactory systems reflect the various natural histories, adaptations to specific environments, and the roles olfaction plays in the life of the species studied. We review current findings in insect olfactory neurobiology, with special attention to differences among species. We begin by describing the olfactory environments and olfactory-based behaviors of insects, as these form the context in which neurobiological findings are interpreted. Next, we review recent work describing changes in olfactory systems as adaptations to new environments or behaviors promoting speciation. We proceed to discuss variations on the basic anatomy of the antennal (olfactory) lobe of the brain and higher-order olfactory centers. Finally, we describe features of olfactory information processing including gain control, transformation between input and output by operations such as broadening and sharpening of tuning curves, the role of spiking synchrony in the antennal lobe, and the encoding of temporal features of encounters with an odor plume. In each section, we draw connections between particular features of the olfactory neurobiology of a species and the animal's life history. We propose that this perspective is beneficial for insect olfactory neurobiology in particular and sensory neurobiology in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-447
Number of pages21
JournalProgress in Neurobiology
Volume95
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Neurobiology
Smell
Insects
Temporal Lobe
Natural History
Automatic Data Processing
Anatomy
Research

Keywords

  • Antennal lobe
  • Comparative anatomy
  • Neuroethology
  • Olfaction
  • Protocerebrum
  • Sensory coding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Martin, J. P., Beyerlein, A., Dacks, A. M., Reisenman, C. E., Riffell, J. A., Lei, H., & Hildebrand, J. G. (2011). The neurobiology of insect olfaction: Sensory processing in a comparative context. Progress in Neurobiology, 95(3), 427-447. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pneurobio.2011.09.007

The neurobiology of insect olfaction : Sensory processing in a comparative context. / Martin, Joshua P.; Beyerlein, Aaron; Dacks, Andrew M.; Reisenman, Carolina E.; Riffell, Jeffrey A.; Lei, Hong; Hildebrand, John G.

In: Progress in Neurobiology, Vol. 95, No. 3, 01.11.2011, p. 427-447.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Martin, JP, Beyerlein, A, Dacks, AM, Reisenman, CE, Riffell, JA, Lei, H & Hildebrand, JG 2011, 'The neurobiology of insect olfaction: Sensory processing in a comparative context', Progress in Neurobiology, vol. 95, no. 3, pp. 427-447. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pneurobio.2011.09.007
Martin, Joshua P. ; Beyerlein, Aaron ; Dacks, Andrew M. ; Reisenman, Carolina E. ; Riffell, Jeffrey A. ; Lei, Hong ; Hildebrand, John G. / The neurobiology of insect olfaction : Sensory processing in a comparative context. In: Progress in Neurobiology. 2011 ; Vol. 95, No. 3. pp. 427-447.
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