Dr. Leonie Baier

Dr. Leonie Baier

Guest Researcher
IMPRS Alumni
MPI for Ornithology Seewiesen
Research Group Goerlitz

Main Focus

Coding of spatial and temporal frequency in bat echolocation
The visual system possesses a spatially arranged sensory epithelium, the retina. The spatial arrangement of an organisms environment can be directly represented in the visual domain. The sensory organ of the auditory domain, however, the cochlea, is arranged tonotopically, by frequency. Naturally,  animals that orient themselves by echolocation can extract lots of information about the targeted objects from the returning echoes. However, there is no 1:1 relationship between the acoustic features of the echo and the spatial layout of the environment. Bats must use the spectral and temporal echo cues to create an internal representation of their surroundings. Many bat species forage above water bodies, even though a rippled water surface could pose a challenge to successful prey detection due to disturbing background echoes.
My project aims to understand how echolocating bats use the physical properties of the water waves, namely their spatial and temporal frequency, for prey detection. In particular I´m interested whether the bats use a mechanism for foreground/background separation that is functionally analogue to the analysis of spatial frequency in the visual system.
I will work on this project with two bat species, a European trawling bat, Myotis daubentoni, and a neotropical bat species with a similar echolocation call design, Phyllostomus discolor.
My supervisors on this project are Prof. Dr. Lutz Wiegrebe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University and Dr. Holger Goerlitz at the MPIO in Seewiesen.

Curriculum Vitae

2006-2013 Technical Assistant in the Sensory Ecology Group, MPI for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany
2006 Diploma in Biology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Diploma thesis: Absolute hearing thresholds in the lesser spear-nosed bat, Phyllostomus discolor.

Special Function:

  • First Aider
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