CIE Seminar Series – 2021: An ecological perspective on timing in tiny brains

SPEAKER: Leslie Ng, Stuart-Fox Lab, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne.

DATE & TIME: Friday, 30th July 2021 @ 12noon.

LOCATION: Seminar to be streamed via Zoom. Click HERE to connect (Meeting ID: 873 3601 0495, Password: 90323570).

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Time is a fundamental dimension of all biological processes, but how relevant is time sense to non-human animals, especially those with miniature insect brains? In my PHD I explore the time sense of the European honey bee, one of the few insect species that has been discussed in this context.

Bees are known to have circadian timing abilities and can use time-related memories to efficiently forage from food sources that operate on circadian or temporal rhythms. However, their capacity to process time intervals of short durations remains unclear. Mixed results in the bee literature suggest that the timing of intervals is highly complex and may potentially be context dependent.

To further understand the complexities of interval timing, I investigated the ecological significance of time sense and found that an ecological perspective provided a nuanced understanding of previous findings and revealed important knowledge gaps.

In this talk I will discuss the interesting world of honey bee time sense, as well as share some new perspectives of interval timing, and how temporal information may or may not be relevant to animals in natural conditions.


Leslie Ng is currently a third year PHD candidate at the School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne. His interests include insect colour vision, bee psychophysics, and conceptual learning.

He is now primarily investigating honey bee cognition in his PHD, with a specific focus on the interval timing abilities of insect brains, and the ecological relevance of time sense.

For more information click HERE (Twitter).

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Thanking you in advance!

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