The senses of animals are essential for every aspect of daily life. Whether detecting a mate or a prey, escaping the attentions of a predator or simply monitoring the surrounding habitat, an animal's senses are critical to its survival. To respond to the opportunities and dangers of the world quickly and effectively, each species must possess a sensory system that is uniquely optimised to its particular ecology. This "sensory ecology" has driven the remarkable range of sensory systems we find in Nature today.
Now in its second decade, the international postgraduate course Sensory Ecology is known throughout the world. The two-week course, which is limited to 40 participants, is organised by the Department of Biology at Lund University and the Division of Chemical Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The course is held every second year in October. The world's leading authorities in sensory ecology are invited to Lund to deliver an outstanding program of lectures covering all animal senses.
The next course will take place in Lund in the autumn of 2014.
Top right image: The nocturnal Australian net-casting spider (Dinopis subrufus) has very sensitive posterior-medial eyes with a design similar to that of the human eye. The large lenses, which can measure up to 1.4 mm in diameter, allow the spider to capture small prey in the dead of night.
Central upper image: The sensillae on the proboscis of a death's head hawk moth (Acherontia atropos). They include mechanoreceptors and chemoreceptors. This moth is specialised to steal honey from bee hives. The short but wide proboscis works like an injection needle.
Central lower image: The tip of the antenna of a male hummingbird hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) with olfactory hairs.
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Professor, Functional zoology
professor, Functional zoology
Professor. Head of Department.
Professor. Chemical ecology at Swedish Agricultural University