Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

E-MAIL: paloma@umn.edu

Research Interests:

We study the performance of neural systems. Our aim is to understand how fast and accurate responses can be achieved with a limited number of neurons. For this reason, we investigate the visual system of predatory insects that catch other animals midflight. We take an organismal, comparative and neuroethological approach. Therefore, we study both the behavior of the animals in the field, and the underlying neural circuit in the lab, and we do this simultaneously for several species. For example, we study dragonflies, damselflies, robber flies and killer flies. By employing intracellular/extracellular electrophysiology, microscopy and high speed videography, we can quantify the changes in performance and link this to the neural adaptations that allow some animals to outperform others.


Selected Publications:

  • Feller KD, Sutton GP, Gonzalez-Bellido PT. Medium compensation in a spring-actuated system. J Exp Biol. 2020 Feb 25;223(Pt 4).
  • Supple JA, Pinto-Benito D, Khoo C, Wardill TJ, Fabian ST, Liu M, Pusdekar S, Galeano D, Pan J, Jiang S, Wang Y, Liu L, Peng H, Olberg RM, Gonzalez-Bellido PT. Binocular encoding in the damselfly pre-motor target tracking system. Curr Biol. 2020 Feb 24;30(4):645-656.e4.
  • Feord RC, Sumner ME, Pusdekar S, Kalra L, Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Wardill TJ. Cuttlefish use stereopsis to strike at prey. Sci Adv. 2020 Jan 8;6(2):eaay6036.
  • Nicholas S, Supple J, Leibbrandt R, Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Nordström K. Integration of small-and wide-field visual features in target-selective descending neurons of both predatory and non-predatory dipterans. J Neurosci. 2018;38(50):10725-10733.
  • Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Scaros AT, Hanlon RT, Wardill TJ. Neural control of dynamic 3-dimensional skin papillae for cuttlefish camouflage. iScience. 2018 Apr 27;2:101.
  • Fabian ST, Sumner ME, Wardill TJ, Rossoni S, Gonzalez-Bellido PT. Interception by two predatory fly species is explained by a proportional navigation feedback controller. J R Soc Interface. 2018 Oct 17;15(147). pii: 20180466.
  • Wardill TJ, Fabian ST, Pettigrew AC, Stavenga DG, Nordström K, Gonzalez-Bellido PT. A novel interception strategy in a miniature robber fly with extreme visual acuity. Curr Biol. 2017;27(6):854-859.
  • Wardill TJ, Knowles K, Barlow L, Tapia G, Nordström K, Olberg RM, Gonzalez-Bellido PT. The killer fly hunger games: Target size and speed predict decision to pursuit. Brain Behav Evol. 2015;86(1):28-37.
  • Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Wardill TJ, Buresch KC, Ulmer KM, Hanlon RT. Expression of squid iridescence depends on environmental luminance and peripheral ganglion control. J Exp Biol. 2014 Mar 15;217(Pt 6):850-8.
  • Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Peng H, Yang J, Georgopoulos AP, Olberg RM. Eight pairs of descending visual neurons in the dragonfly give wing motor centers accurate population vector of prey direction, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013;110:696-701.
Picture of Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido