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Associative and exploratory learning leave memory traces in the brain of the honeybee. We take advantage of the rich learning repertoire of the bee under natural and laboratory conditions, and search for neural correlates at the level of the mushroom body input (calyx) and output (lobe) regions. Associative learning focuses on olfactory learning, exploration on complex multisensory learning. The olfactory memory trace can be conceptualized as a distributed pattern of changed synaptic sites in the lip region of the calyx, and as a combinatorial pattern of neural plasticity in defined subsets of extrinsic lobe neurons. Much less is known about memory traces after exploration. I will present behavioural data supporting the interpretation that exploration of the environment leads to a map-like memory structure. Attempts will be presented to search for neural correlates of such a memory structure, both for visual cues of the environment and for multisensory cues inside the colony.

DPAG Head of Department Seminar Series