Sensible behavioral responses of an animal to the environment depend critically on the capability to sample the surroundings with a suite of sensory systems. Most senses are passive where specialized receptor cells are sensitive to intrinsic energy from the surrounding environment, such as light and sound. In contrast, a few senses, such as echolocation, are active: the animal itself produces the energy that it subsequently detects after convolving it with the environment. With this AIAS Skou fellowship I wish to harness the tremendous synergy from integrating parallel studies of how echolocating animals sense actively with sound into a big picture framework of how animals in general use sensory-motor feedback processes to actively adapt their perception via active sensing.
I am a sensory physiologist seeking to understand how sensory systems are used to inform changes in behaviour of wild animals. Using advanced biologging technology I am trying to understand how echolocating bats and toothed whales in the wild navigate and capture their prey under conditions of poor lighting by emission of powerful ultrasound pulses and auditory processing of returning echoes milliseconds later.