The spectacular evolutionary success of insects surpasses that of any multi-cellular life form on Earth. Arguably, the key feature that enabled the rapid diversification and global colonization of insects was their ability to fly. The other factor that made insects so successful was the evolution of small body size. Indeed, the smallest insects are among the smallest multicellular life forms ever described, including insects that are smaller than single cells. Yet, these insects are able to fly, even tough miniaturization of body size is not conducive to the physics of flight. How have insects dealt with the challenge? In my seminar, I will describe this question, and some of the solutions that insects have evolved during the course of their life history.
Sanjay Sane is an Associate Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bangalore, India. He got a B.Sc. in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from St. Stephens College in University of Delhi, and a M.Sc. degree in Physics from the University of Poona in Pune, India. His doctoral work at University of California, Berkeley in the laboratory of Michael Dickinson focused on the aerodynamics of insect flight, and his post-doctoral work with Tom Daniel at University of Washington investigated the role of antennal mechanosensors in the control and stability of insect flight. His laboratory at NCBS studies a diverse range of questions related to the physics to physiology of sensory and motor processes that guide insect wing movements in flying insects â€‹