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Of Noses and Space: The Adaptive Radiation of Directional Olfaction in Vertebrates

Lucia Jacobs, Cornell University

Apr 15, 2021
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm | Zoom

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The evolution of air breathing in marine fish was an important step leading to the vertebrate colonization of land. Yet this innovation had a significant impact on the nature of a primary source of sensory information: olfaction. The move to land necessitated the evolution of the nose, a new structure needed to mediate previously independent functions, olfaction and respiration. These disparate functions have recently been shown to be critical to memory processing in the mammalian brain. I will propose that the links between olfaction, respiration and memory can be explained by their shared evolutionary history.

Speaker Bio

Prof. Lucia Jacobs received her BS in animal behavior at Cornell University, followed by a MS in ethology at the University of Vienna and a PhD in behavioral ecology from Princeton. She then had postdoctoral training in animal cognition, evolutionary anthropology and behavioral neuroscience at the Universities of Toronto, Pittsburgh and Utah, funded by NATO, NSF, and NIMH fellowships. She joined Berkeley as an Assistant Professor in 1993, where she is now Professor in Psychology at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. Her work synthesizes concepts from these diverse disciplines to understand the evolution of cognition and the brain.

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