Martin Giurfa

Martin Giurfa
CNRS - Paul Sabatier University - Toulouse III · Research Center on Animal Cognition

Prof. Dr.

About

311
Publications
91,209
Reads
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12,874
Citations
Citations since 2016
109 Research Items
5985 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
Additional affiliations
January 2018 - present
Paul Sabatier University - Toulouse III
Position
  • Professor
January 2003 - December 2017
Paul Sabatier University - Toulouse III
Position
  • Manager
March 2001 - present
University of Toulouse
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (311)
Article
Full-text available
The "mental number line" (MNL) is a form of spatial numeric representation that associates small and large numbers with the left and right spaces, respectively. This spatio-numeric organization can be found in adult humans and has been related to cultural factors such as writing and reading habits. Yet, both human newborns and birds order numbers c...
Article
Bee memory has been well characterized in laboratory experiments, but its relevance for foraging in an ecological context is less well studied. A new study shows that short-term memory in bumble bees correlates with springtime foraging efficiency, when floral resources are abundant, but not with summer foraging efficiency, when resources are scarce...
Preprint
Full-text available
The question of whether individuals perform consistently across a variety of cognitive tasks is relevant for studies of comparative cognition. The honey bee ( Apis mellifera ) is an appropriate model to study cognitive consistency as its learning can be studied in multiple elemental and non-elemental learning tasks. We took advantage of this possib...
Article
Although insects of a same species appear similar when seen through human eyes, they exhibit considerable differences in behavioral performances, including learning success in conditioning tasks. New work on olfactory conditioning in fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster shows that these insects vary in their idiosyncratic learning proficiency and th...
Article
Full-text available
Interview with Martin Giurfa, who studies learning and memory in insects at Paul Sabatier University.
Article
A recent study revealed neural mechanisms underlying visual trace conditioning in flies. To associate visual stimuli with heat punishment, the activity of visual- and heat-processing circuits was extended into the gap between them. Distractors delivered during the gap disrupted learning, raising the question of the cognitive processes at play.
Article
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The biological bases of wanting have been characterized in mammals, but whether an equivalent wanting system exists in insects remains unknown. In this study, we focused on honey bees, which perform intensive foraging activities to satisfy colony needs, and sought to determine whether foragers leave the hive driven by specific expectations about re...
Article
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Objectives: Biogenic amines modulate the honeybees' behavioral development, especially olfactory learning behavior. Diverse behavioral protocols have been developed to investigate the olfactory learning behavior of bees to process appetitive olfaction information. Apis mellifera ligustica is a well-known euso-cial insect to examine the olfactory le...
Article
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Current methods used to quantify brain size and compartmental scaling relationships in studies of social insect brain evolution involve manual annotations of images from histological samples, confocal microscopy or other sources. This process is susceptible to human bias and error and requires time-consuming effort by expert annotators. Standardize...
Article
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Honey bees are reputed for their remarkable visual learning and navigation capabilities. These capacities can be studied in virtual reality (VR) environments, which allow studying performances of tethered animals in stationary flight or walk under full control of the sensory environment. Here, we used a 2D VR setup in which a tethered bee walking s...
Article
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Free-flying bees learn efficiently to solve numerous visual tasks. Yet, the neural underpinnings of this capacity remain unexplored. We used a 3D virtual reality (VR) environment to study visual learning and determine if it leads to changes in immediate early gene (IEG) expression in specific areas of the bee brain. We focused on kakusei, Hr38 and...
Article
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Motivation can critically influence learning and memory. Multiple neural mechanisms regulate motivational states, among which signalling via specific neuropeptides, such as NPY in vertebrates and NPF and its short variant sNPF in invertebrates, plays an essential role. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) is a privileged model for the study of appetitive...
Article
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The neuropeptide F (NPF) and its short version (sNPF) mediate food- and stress-related responses in solitary insects. In the honey bee, a social insect where food collection and defensive responses are socially regulated, only sNPF has an identified receptor. Here we increased artificially sNPF levels in honey bee foragers and studied the consequen...
Article
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Angiosperms have evolved to attract and/or deter specific pollinators. Flowers provide signals and cues such as scent, colour, size, pattern, and shape, which allow certain pollinators to more easily find and visit the same type of flower. Over evolutionary time, bees and angiosperms have co-evolved resulting in flowers being more attractive to bee...
Article
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Honey bees exhibit remarkable visual learning capacities, which can be studied using virtual reality (VR) landscapes in laboratory conditions. Existing VR environments for bees are imperfect as they provide either open-loop conditions or 2D displays. Here we achieved a true 3D environment in which walking bees learned to discriminate a rewarded fro...
Article
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Individuals differing in their cognitive abilities and foraging strategies may confer a valuable benefit to their social groups as variability may help responding flexibly in scenarios with different resource availability. Individual learning proficiency may either be absolute or vary with the complexity or the nature of the problem considered. Det...
Article
Decision-making processes face the dilemma of being accurate or faster, a phenomenon that has been described as speed-accuracy trade-off in numerous studies on animal behaviour. In social insects, discriminating between colony members and aliens is subjected to this trade-off as rapid and accurate rejection of enemies is of primary importance for t...
Article
Full-text available
Biogenic amines play an important role in the regulation of appetitive responses in insects. Among them, serotonin (5-HT) regulates feeding-related processes in numerous insect species. In carpenter ants, 5-HT administration has been shown to depress feeding behavior, thus opening the possibility of using 5-HT modulation in control strategies again...
Article
When flying through narrow gaps, bumblebees of different body sizes fly either straightforward or sideways, depending on the relation between their wingspan and the width of the gap (Ravi et al., 2020). They thus behave like humans when walking through narrow passages, which raises the question of the mechanisms underlying their own-body perception...
Article
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The adipokinetic hormone (AKH) of insects is considered an equivalent of the mammalian hormone glucagon as it induces fast mobilization of carbohydrates and lipids from the fat body upon starvation. Yet, in foraging honey bees, which lack fat body storage for carbohydrates, it was suggested that AKH may have lost its original function. Here we mani...
Article
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Understanding the neural principles governing taste perception in species that bear economic importance or serve as research models for other sensory modalities constitutes a strategic goal. Such is the case of the honey bee (Apis mellifera), which is environmentally and socioeconomically important, given its crucial role as pollinator agent in agr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Decision-making processes face the dilemma of being accurate or faster, a phenomenon that has been described as speed-accuracy trade-off (SAT) in numerous studies on animal behaviour. In social insects, discriminating between colony members and aliens is subjected to this trade-off as rapid and accurate rejection of enemies is of primary importance...
Article
Full-text available
Social movements in several countries are stimulating a reconsideration of academic structures and historic figures and promoting reparation and recognition of marginalized and forgotten black scientists. A paradigmatic case in that sense is Charles Henry Turner (1867–1923) who was the first African American to receive a graduate degree at the Univ...
Article
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Humans and non-human primates learn conceptual relationships such as ‘same’ and ‘different, which have to be encoded independently of the physical nature of objects linked by the relation. Consequently, concepts are associated with high-level cognition and are not expected in an insect brain. Yet, various works have shown that the miniature brain o...
Article
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Associative learning allows animals to establish links between stimuli based on their concomitance. In the case of Pavlovian conditioning, a single stimulus A (the conditional stimulus, CS) is reinforced unambiguously with an unconditional stimulus (US) eliciting an innate response. This conditioning constitutes an ‘elemental’ association to elicit...
Article
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The political wave of actions occurring in several countries following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police shows that times are changing dramatically in terms of how vast segments of our society perceive and respond to racism and social injustice against Black citizens. The campaign Black Lives Matter has gone mainstream an...
Article
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Since their discovery in insects, pheromones are considered as ubiquitous and stereotyped chemical messengers acting in intraspecific animal communication. Here we studied the effect of pheromones in a different context as we investigated their capacity to induce persistent modulations of associative learning and memory. We used honey bees, Apis me...
Article
The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, is native from South America but has become one of the most invasive species in the world. These ants heavily rely on trail pheromones for foraging and previous studies have focused on this signal to develop a strategy of chemical control. Here, we studied the effect of pre-exposure to the trail pheromone on s...
Article
Memory reconsolidation occurs when a retrieving event destabilizes transiently a consolidated memory, triggering thereby a new process of restabilization that ensures memory persistence. Although this phenomenon has received wide attention, the effect of new information cooccurring with the reconsolidation process has been less explored. Here we de...
Article
Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) learning induces the devaluation of a preferred food through its pairing with a stimulus inducing internal illness. In invertebrates, it is still unclear how this aversive learning impairs the memories of stimuli that had been associated with the appetitive food prior to its devaluation. Here we studied this phenome...
Article
Full-text available
Intraspecific floral colour polymorphism is a common trait of food deceptive orchids, which lure pollinators with variable, attractive signals, without providing food resources. The variable signals are thought to hinder avoidance learning of deceptive flowers by pollinators. Here, we analysed the cognitive mechanisms underlying the choice of free-...
Data
Supporting information for Aguiar et al. (2020) A cognitive analysis of deceptive pollination: associative mechanisms underlying pollinators’ choices in non-rewarding colour polymorphic scenarios
Article
Full-text available
Research on honeybee memory has led to a widely accepted model in which a single pairing of an odor stimulus with sucrose induces memories that are independent of protein synthesis but is unable to form protein-synthesis-dependent long-term memory (LTM). The latter is said to arise only after three or more pairings of odor and sucrose. Here, we sho...
Article
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The superiority of spaced over massed learning is an established fact in the formation of long-term memories (LTM). Here we addressed the cellular processes and the temporal demands of this phenomenon using a weak spatial object recognition (wSOR) training, which induces short-term memories (STM) but not LTM. We observed SOR-LTM promotion when two...
Article
Non-elemental learning constitutes a cognitive challenge because events to be learned are usually ambiguous in terms of reinforcement outcome, contrary to elemental learning, which relies on unambiguous associations. Negative patterning (NP) constitutes a paradigmatic case of non-elemental learning, as subjects have to learn that single elements ar...
Article
Honeybees are a standard model for the study of appetitive learning and memory. Yet, fewer attempts have been performed to characterize aversive learning and memory in this insect and uncover its molecular underpinnings. Here, we took advantage of the positive phototactic behavior of bees kept away from the hive in a dark environment and establishe...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies revealed numerosity judgments in bees, which include the concept of zero, subtraction and addition, and matching symbols to numbers. Despite their distant origins, bees and vertebrates share similarities in their numeric competences, thus suggesting that numerosity is evolutionary conserved and can be implemented in miniature brains...
Article
Full-text available
Various vertebrate species use relative numerosity judgements in comparative assessments of quantities for which they use larger/smaller relationships rather than absolute number. The numerical ability of honeybees shares basic properties with that of vertebrates but their use of absolute or relative numerosity has not been explored. We trained fre...
Article
Full-text available
The capacity to process numbers can be found in many vertebrate species, which share similar behavioral and neural mechanisms for number estimation. Honeybees possess a miniature brain but exhibit remarkable cognitive abilities, including the capacity to perform numerosity judgments in a foraging context. Honeybee foragers can count up to four land...
Article
Full-text available
Foraging exposes organisms to rewarding and aversive events, providing a selective advantage for maximizing the former while minimizing the latter. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) associate environmental stimuli with appetitive or aversive experiences, forming preferences for scents, locations, and visual cues. Preference formation is influenced by int...
Article
Full-text available
The ecological and evolutionary success of social insects relies on their ability to efficiently discriminate between group members and aliens. Nestmate recognition occurs by phenotype matching, the comparison of the referent (colony) phenotype to the one of an encountered individual. Based on the level of dissimilarity between the two, the discrim...
Article
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Social insects commonly exhibit division of labor in non-reproductive tasks. Task allocation may be related to size, form, and ergonomic differences when workers are anatomically variable. Carpenter ants Camponotus mus collecting nectar exhibit a wide forager size variation, thus raising the question of whether large and minor workers differ in the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Non-elemental learning constitutes a cognitive challenge because, contrary to elemental learning forms, it does not rely on simple associations, as events to be learned are usually ambiguous in terms of reinforcement outcome. Negative patterning constitutes a paradigmatic case of non-elemental learning, as subjects have to learn that single element...
Article
Full-text available
Honeybees maintain their colony throughout the cold winters, a strategy that enables them to make the most of early spring flowers. During this period, their activity is mostly limited to thermoregulation, while foraging and brood rearing are stopped. Less is known about seasonal changes to the essential task of defending the colony against intrude...
Poster
Full-text available
To study visual learning in honey bees, we developed a virtual reality (VR) system in which tethered bees walk stationary on a treadmill while they experience visual stimuli with different outcomes projected onto a semi-circular screen placed in front of them. The bee movements translate into corresponding modifications of the visual panorama (clos...
Article
Full-text available
To study visual learning in honey bees, we developed a virtual reality (VR) system in which the movements of a tethered bee walking stationary on a spherical treadmill update the visual panorama presented in front of it (closed-loop conditions), thus creating an experience of immersion within a virtual environment. In parallel, we developed a small...
Article
Full-text available
Many flowering plants present variable complex fragrances, which usually include different isomers of the same molecule. As fragrance is an essential cue for flower recognition by pollinators, we ask if honey bees discriminate between floral-fragrance isomers in an appetitive context. We used the olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension re...
Article
The honey bee Apis mellifera is a major insect model for studying visual cognition. Free-flying honey bees learn to associate different visual cues with a sucrose reward and may deploy sophisticated cognitive strategies to this end. Yet, the neural bases of these capacities cannot be studied in flying insects. Conversely, immobilized bees are acces...
Article
Full-text available
Lateralization is a fundamental property of the human brain that affects perceptual, motor, and cognitive processes. It is now acknowledged that left–right laterality is widespread across vertebrates and even some invertebrates such as fruit flies and bees. Honeybees, which learn to associate an odorant (the conditioned stimulus, CS) with sucrose s...
Article
Full-text available
The defence of a society often requires that some specialized members coordinate to repel a threat at personal risk. This is especially true for honey bee guards, which defend the hive and may sacrifice their lives upon stinging. Central to this cooperative defensive response is the sting alarm pheromone, which has isoamyl acetate (IAA) as its main...
Article
Full-text available
Pheromones are chemical substances released into the environment by an individual, which trigger stereotyped behaviors and/or physiological processes in individuals of the same species. Yet, a novel hypothesis has suggested that pheromones not only elicit innate responses but also contribute to behavioral plasticity by affecting the subjective eval...
Article
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Among insects, Hymenoptera present a striking olfactory system with a clear neural dichotomy from the periphery to higher-order centers, based on two main tracts of second-order (projection) neurons: the medial and lateral antennal lobe tracts (m-ALT and l-ALT). Despite substantial work on this dual pathway, its exact function is yet unclear. Here,...
Article
Full-text available
Taste perception allows discriminating edible from non-edible items and is crucial for survival. In the honey bee, the gustatory sense has remained largely unexplored, as tastants have been traditionally used as reinforcements rather than as stimuli to be learned and discriminated. Here we provide the first characterization of antennal gustatory pe...
Article
Full-text available
Pheromones are chemical messengers that trigger stereotyped behaviors and/or physiological processes in individuals of the same species. Recent reports suggest that pheromones can modulate behaviors not directly related to the pheromonal message itself and contribute, in this way, to behavioral plasticity. We tested this hypothesis by studying the...
Article
Full-text available
Ants have recently emerged as useful models for the study of olfactory learning. In this framework, the development of a protocol for the appetitive conditioning of the maxilla-labium extension response (MaLER) provided the possibility of studying Pavlovian odor-food learning in a controlled environment. Here we extend these studies by introducing...