2024 Grass Fellow Andrea Gaede

Andrea Gaede


Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences
Start Year: 2024
Starting Institution: Royal Veterinary College, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Veterinary College, University of London
Project Title: Visual control of flight maneuverability in gliding tree frogs

Tree frogs are amazing jumpers, capable of athletic launches and stunning in-flight maneuvering through cluttered environments. Because of the vast mechanical and visual complexity of the arboreal environment, tree frogs must possess biomechanical, visual, and neurological specializations to effectively navigate from perch to perch. Despite decades of research on the biomechanics of the launch phase of jumping, the subsequent flight phase and its neural control are poorly understood. How do frogs respond to visual stimuli in a complex environment, and how do these stimuli influence behavior? This project aims to determine how gliding versus non-gliding arboreal frogs process visual information during flight and how they use this information to modulate their trajectory. We will perform cutting edge neurophysiological recordings to characterize the most salient visual cues that elicit responses from optic flow neurons and how these response profiles relate to locomotor behaviors. This project will provide a crucial step toward understanding how animals process visual motion during locomotion.