Dr Michael Mangan

Current Role:
Post-Doctoral Researcher

G.14 Informatics Forum
10 Crichton St

Research Summary:                
My research interests lie in modelling the navigational behaviour of insects, specifically desert ants. These ants scavenge for food despite searing surface temperatures when pheromone trails evaporate too quickly to use for guidance. Instead the ants rely mainly on visual cues to navigate. This feat is made all the more impressive considering that they have low resolution eyes, and their brain is smaller than a pin head - containing around 400,000 times fewer neurons than the human brain.  

Revealing the neural mechanisms governing these behaviours will not only aid the understanding of biological systems but may also offer engineering solutions - building robots able to navigate as well as the humble ant.

Current Projects:
  • High resolution tracking of ants in their natural habitat.
  • Mapping ant habitats so that the visual information of ants can be accurately reconstructed.
  • Modelling ant navigation through VR worlds.
  • Bayesian methods for cue integration and navigation in desert ants.