Olfactory Navigation: Structure of Odor Plumes in the Natural Environment
John Crimaldi (University of Colorado at Boulder)
To understand how insects navigate in airborne odor plumes, we must first understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of the odor stimulus itself. In most cases, this odor stimulus evolves in the presence of turbulent airflow, imparting complex structure. In this talk, I will show how laser-based laboratory techniques can be used to visualize and quantify odor structure in turbulent flows in both air and water. I will also describe a current multi-institutional project designed to elucidate and model the mechanistic brain function of animals navigating in odor plumes. Finally, I will share recent laboratory measurements of human respiration plumes; these measurements might be useful to researchers in the insect community who are studying mosquito navigation, especially in the context of mosquitos as disease vectors.