The John B. Pierce Laboratory

Odor Navigation in Mice, Robots and Models – Verhagen Lab – New Publication in eNeuro!

A comparison between mouse, in silico, and robot odor plume navigation reveals advantages of mouse odor-tracking

A Gumaste, G Coronas-Samano, J Hengenius, R Axman, EG Connor, KL Baker, B Ermentrout, JP Crimaldi and J. V. Verhagen

While critical for survival, it remains unclear how mammals perform odor-based navigation.

A.Gumaste et al. used a “Standard Odor Landscape” to generate well-defined odor plumes of varying degrees of turbulence and tasked mice to use their sense of smell to navigate directly to 1 of the 3 release points. Mice performed this task accurately and rapidly, with no evidence of casting. In comparison, a robot and analogous computational models, using biologically plausible minimal odor based search algorithms performed well, but lacked the robustness of mice to different levels of plume turbulence. Mammalian odor navigation is hence likely based on rather complex neuro-behavioral algorithms.

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