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ElectroBee SIGNED

Mechanisms of electroreception in bees and other terrestrial animals

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 ElectroBee project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the ElectroBee project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "ElectroBee" about.

biologically    surrounding    many    vibration    basis    hair    aerial    reveal    showed    honeybees    environment    understand    biophysical    electric    electrometers    bumblebees    aquatic    ecological    establishing    informative    conductive    arm    model    behavioural    dolphin    gymnotid    entire    first    modality    arthropods    rays    mammalian    weak    sense    functions    had    platypus    arise    adaptive    sharks    terrestrial    mormirid    ae    date    detect    medium    mechanosensory    television    potentially    works    animals    poised    structures    detection    cathodic    exploring    flower    diversity    meters    sensation    lamprey    discovered    species    near    foundational    vertebrates    physical    opening    evolution    electro    mechanical    sensitive    electroreception    browsing    coelacanth    electrosensory    mainly    ecology    transform    extend    fish    putative    scientific    escaped    ampere    coupling    quantity    little    hairs    sensory    bearing    generation    humans    mechanisms    animal   

Project "ElectroBee" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: BS8 1QU

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 2˙294˙320 €
 EC max contribution 2˙294˙320 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-ADG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-09-01   to  2022-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL UK (BRISTOL) coordinator 2˙294˙320.00


 Project objective

Many animal species can detect the electric fields in their environment. Electroreception has mainly been studied in aquatic vertebrates; fish like sharks and rays, gymnotid and mormirid electric fish, the lamprey, the platypus, the coelacanth, and one mammalian species, a dolphin. We have discovered that bumblebees can detect and learn about the weak electric fields that arise when they approach a flower. This is the first example of electroreception in a non-conductive medium, aerial electroreception (AE). Recently, we showed that AE can be achieved through the electro-mechanical coupling of mechanosensory hairs to the weak electric field surrounding the animal. This is much like the hair-raising sensation humans used to experience by browsing an arm near to a cathodic television set. Yet, humans cannot sense the weak electric fields surrounding a flower, so this potentially informative physical quantity had escaped scientific attention. To date, little is known about AE, its sensory ecology and evolution.

I propose to study the biophysical basis of AE, addressing how and why it works, establishing its adaptive value and exploring its diversity. To achieve this, I will lead research to further understand AE in honeybees and bumblebees, our existing model systems, but also extend research to other arthropods bearing putative electrosensory structures. I will do so using state-of-the-art vibration measurement technology, biologically-relevant electric field generation, sensitive Ampere-meters and electrometers, and behavioural methods. The proposed research will transform our knowledge of electroreception. It will characterize novel detection mechanisms, reveal their adaptive diversity and establish their sensory ecological functions in terrestrial animals. The planned work is poised to be foundational, opening up an entire field of research into this novel, but potentially widespread, sensory modality.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 J.C. Matthews, M.D. Wright, D. Clarke, E.L. Morley, H. Silva, A.J. Bennett, D. Robert, D.E. Shallcross
Urban and rural measurements of atmospheric potential gradient
published pages: 42-50, ISSN: 0304-3886, DOI: 10.1016/j.elstat.2018.11.006
Journal of Electrostatics 97 2019-09-02
2019 K.A. Nicoll, R.G. Harrison, V. Barta, J. Bor, R. Brugge, A. Chillingarian, J. Chum, A.K. Georgoulias, A. Guha, K. Kourtidis, M. Kubicki, E. Mareev, J. Matthews, H. Mkrtchyan, A. Odzimek, J.-P. Raulin, D. Robert, H.G. Silva, J. Tacza, Y. Yair, R. Yaniv
A global atmospheric electricity monitoring network for climate and geophysical research
published pages: 18-29, ISSN: 1364-6826, DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2019.01.003
Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 184 2019-09-02
2018 Erica L. Morley, Daniel Robert
Electric Fields Elicit Ballooning in Spiders
published pages: 2324-2330.e2, ISSN: 0960-9822, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.05.057
Current Biology 28/14 2019-09-02

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