Department for Zoology and Animal Physiology
Brains belong to the most complicated existing structures. Research in the Department for Zoology and Animal Physiology concentrates on the important areas neurobiology and biomimetics. The excellent auditory and visual system and the silent flight of barn owls are the focus of our research, but we are also studying cellular and molecular aspects of the auditory system in other animal models. We are interested in both basic mechanisms and biomimetic applications.
Barn owls can catch mice by hearing alone, but use vision whenever light conditions allow this. The silent flight, the frontally oriented eyes, and the facial ruffs are specializations that evolved to optimize prey capture. This makes the barn owl an excellent model system for studying evolutionary adaptations and boundary conditions for sensory processing. Since optimized neural mechanism were formed during evolution these mechanisms are also interesting for implementation in a biomimetic sense. It is our goal to combine behavior, neurobiology, theory and biomimetics to understand evolutionary adaptations in orientation.