I spent much of my childhood close to Paris, France, where I began to study Biology in 2008. Two years later, I moved to Lyon to write my Bachelor and Masters theses at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. I have always been puzzled by the way animals behave, and my previous projects during my Masters degree convinced me that research on behaviour gains a lot to be considered within the scope of the perceptual challenges animals face in their natural environments.
My Masters thesis consisted in the study of collective motion of fish in Toulouse, France, and on the other hand of the acoustic behaviour of echolocating bats in Odense, Denmark.I started a PhD within the Lund Vision Group in September 2016.
Bumblebees of the genus Bombus are present in a wide range of distinct environments, ranging from dark cluttered rainforests in the tropics to the open tundra of the Arctic Circle. No matter if tropical, temperate or artic, a bumblebee species must be able to find relevant cues in the available visual scene to fly and navigate. The aim of my PhD project is to investigate what kind of visual and flight adaptations bumblebees have, that enable them to safely manoeuver through the diverse range of environments they inhabit.
To do so, my plan is to use information from advanced micro computed tomography techniques to investigate the anatomy of the eyes and possibly peripheral brain structures of several bumblebee species. Those models will allow to understand what elements bees perceive in different visual environments and to relate each specialisation to the visual information available in their habitat. I will combine those results with behavioural experiments both in the lab and in the field to evaluate the visual flight control abilities of different Bombus species.
V Lecheval, L Jiang, P Tichit, C Sire, CK Hemelrijk, G Theraulaz (2017). Domino-like propagation of collective U-turns in fish schools. BioRxiv, 138628
V Lecheval, L Jiang, P Tichit, C Sire, CK Hemelrijk, G Theraulaz (2018). Social conformity and propagation of information in collective U-turns of fish schools. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285 (1877), 20180251
GJ Taylor, P Tichit, MD Schmidt, AJ Bodey, C Rau, E Baird (2019) Bumblebee visual allometry results in locally improved resolution and globally improved sensitivity. eLife 8, e40613
D Wilby, T Aarts, P Tichit, A Bodey, C Rau, G Taylor, E Baird (2019). Using micro-CT techniques to explore the role of sex and hair in the functional morphology of bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) ocelli. Vision research 158, 100-108
P Tichit, I Alves-dos-Santos, M Dacke, E Baird (2020). Accelerated landing in a stingless bee and its unexpected benefits for traffic congestion. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287 (1921), 20192720