Professor Mandyam Srinivasan

Contact Information
Building: QBI Building #79
Room: 335
Tel: +61 7 334 66322

Mailing Address

Queensland Brain Institute
The University of Queensland
Brisbane, 4072


Lab Members

Lab Home Page

Short biography

Research directions

Current collaborations

Selected publications


Short biography

Srinivasan's research focuses on the principles of visual processing, perception and cognition in simple natural systems, and on the application of these principles to machine vision and robotics. He is presently Professor of Visual Neuroscience at the Queensland Brain Institute and the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering of the University of Queensland.

Srinivasan holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Bangalore University, a Master's degree in Electronics from the Indian Institute of Science, a Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University, a D.Sc. in Neuroethology from the Australian National University, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Zurich.

Among his awards and honours are Fellowships of the Australian Academy of Science, of the Royal Society of London, of the Royal Institute of Navigation, and of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, an Inaugural Federation Fellowship, the 2006 Australia Prime Minister’s Science Prize, the 2008 U.K. Rank Prize for Optoelectronics, and the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award of the Indian Institute of Science, the Membership of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2012, the Queensland Science Championship in 2014, and the Harold Spencer-Jones Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of Navigation in 2014.

Research directions

Lines of research: (i) Sensory systems (ii) Cognition and development

Vision, navigation and ‘cognition’ in animals with simple nervous systems, and applications to robotics

The goal of our laboratory is to understand how vision guides and shapes behaviour. Finely-tuned behaviour is critical the survival of any species, and this competition for survival promotes the evolution of better visual systems. This is readily apparent to anyone observing a bird achieving a collision-free flight through a dense forest, a bee orchestrating a smooth landing, or a president ducking to evade a flying shoe. Today’s robots perform such tasks with far less finesse. Our mission is to better understand how the eye and brain solve complex visuomotor tasks, and to ask if this understanding can be used to design novel strategies for machines that see, perceive, steer and navigate.

Major approaches and technologies employed in the laboratory include

  • Quantitative analysis of behaviour of flying insects (especially honeybees) and birds
  • Multi-camera, high speed video technology
  • Mathematical models of visual processing and visually guided behaviour
  • Machine and computer vision
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles

Current Collaborations

  • Marie Dacke, University of Lund: Honeybee navigation
  • Thomas Labhart, University of Zurich: Polarization vision in honeybee navigation
  • Jonathan Roberts, CSIRO, Brisbane: Robotics
  • Farid Kendoul, CSIRO, Brisbane:  Biologically inspired robotics
  • Tristan Perez, Queensland University of Technology: Control system dynamics

Selected publications

(a complete list is available at

P. S. Bhagavatula, C. Claudianos, M.R. Ibbotson and M.V. Srinivasan (in press) Behavioral lateralization and optimal route choice in flying budgerigars. PLOS Computational Biology

The Visual Neurosciences (2014) J.S. Werner and L.M. Chalupa (Editors), M. Burns, J. Geng, M. Goldman, J. Handa, A. Ishida, G.R. Mangun, K, McAllister, B. Olshausen, G. Recanzone, M.V. Srinivasan, W.M. Usrey, M. Webster, D. Whitney (Associate Editors), MIT Press, 2000 pages. ISBN 9780262019163.

R.J. D. Moore, G.J. Taylor, A.C. Paulk, T. Pearson, B. van Swinderen, M.V. Srinivasan (2014) FicTrac: a visual method for tracking spherical motion and generating fictive animal paths. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 225: 106-119.

C. Evangelista, P. Kraft, M. Dacke, T. Labhart and M.V. Srinivasan (2014) Honeybee navigation: critically examining the role of the polarization compass. Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society B 369: 20130037.

M.V. Srinivasan, R.J.D. Moore, S. Thurrowgood, D. Soccol, D. Bland and M. Knight (2013) Vision and navigation in insects, and applications to aircraft guidance. In: The Visual Neurosciences, J.S. Werner and L.M. Chalupa (eds), MIT Press, pp. 1219-1232.

I. Schiffner and M.V. Srinivasan (2013) Behavioural lateralization in budgerigars varies with the task and the individual. PLoS One 8(12): e82670.

E. Baird, N. Boeddeker,  M.R. Ibbotson and MV. Srinivasan (2013) A universal strategy for visually guided landing.  PNAS 110, 18686-91.

G.J. Taylor, T. Luu, D.Ball and M.V. Srinivasan (2013) Vision and air flow combine to streamline flying honeybees. Scientific Reports 3: 2614. DOI: 10.1038/srep02614.

R.J.D. Moore, S. Thurrowgood and M.V. Srinivasan (2012) Vision-only estimation of wind field strength and direction from an aerial platform. Proceedings, IEEE /RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Vilamoura, Portugal, 7-12 October 2012.

R.J.D. Moore, S.Thurrowgood, D. Bland, D. Soccol and M.V. Srinivasan (2011) A Fast and Adaptive Method for Estimating UAV Attitude from the Visual Horizon. Proceedings, IEEE /RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, San Francisco, California, USA, 25-30 September 2011, paper ThCT8.3.

P. Bhagavatula, C. Claudianos, M. Ibbotson and M. Srinivasan (2011) Optic flow cues guide flight in birds. Current Biology 21, 1-6.

T Luu, A. Cheung, D. Ball and M.V. Srinivasan (2011) Honeybee flight: A novel ‘streamlining’ response. Journal of Experimental Biology. 214, 2215-2225.

M.V. Srinivasan (2011) Visual control of navigation in insects and its relevance for robotics. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 21, 1-9. (With cover illustration)

M.V. Srinivasan (2011) Honeybees as a model for the study of visually guided flight, navigation, and biologically inspired robotics. Physiological Reviews 91, 389-411 (With cover illustration)

Frontiers in Sensing: From Biology to Engineering (2012). F.G. Barth, J.G.C. Humphrey and M.V. Srinivasan (eds), Springer-Verlag Vienna/New York  (2012), 438 pages. ISBN 978-3-211-99748-2.

M.V. Srinivasan, R.J.D. Moore, S. Thurrowgood, D. Soccol and D. Bland (2012) From biology to engineering: Insect vision and applications to robotics. In: Frontiers in Sensing: From Biology to Engineering, F.G. Barth, J.G.C. Humphrey and M.V. Srinivasan (eds), Springer-Verlag, Vienna/New York, pp. 19-39.

M.V. Srinivasan (2011) Honeybees as a model for the study of visually guided flight, navigation, and biologically inspired robotics. Physiological Reviews 91, 389-411.

P. Kraft, C. Evangelista, M. Dacke, T. Labhart and M. V. Srinivasan (2011) Honeybee navigation: Following routes using polarized-light cues. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 366, 703-708.

C. Evangelista, P. Kraft, M. Dacke, J. Reinhard and M.V. Srinivasan (2010) The moment before touchdown: Landing manoeuvres of the honeybee Apis mellifera. Journal of Experimental Biology 213, 262-270.

P. Bhagavatula, C. Claudianos, M. Ibbotson and M. Srinivasan (2009) Edge detection in landing budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). PLoS ONE 4(10): e7301

M.V. Srinivasan, S. Thurrowgood and D. Soccol (2009) From flying insects to autonomously navigating robots. IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Special Issue on Cognitive Robotics. 16(3): 59-71.

M.V. Srinivasan (2009) Honeybees as a model for vision, perception and ‘cognition’. Annual Review of Entomology 55, 267–284

M.V. Srinivasan, S. Thurrowgood and D. Soccol (2009) From visual guidance in flying insects to autonomous aerial vehicles. In: Flying Insects and Robots, D. Floreano, J.-C. Zufferey, M.V. Srinivasan and C. Ellington (eds.), Springer- Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 15-28.

P. Letzkus, N. Boeddeker, J.T. Wood, S.W. Zhang and M.V. Srinivasan (2008) Lateralization of visual learning in the honeybee. Biol. Lett. 4, 16-18.

P. Letzkus, W.A. Ribi, J.T. Wood, H. Zhu, S.W. Zhang, M.V. Srinivasan (2006) Lateralization of olfaction in the honeybee Apis mellifera. Current Biology 16, 1471-1476.

S.W. Zhang, F. Bock, A. Si, J. Tautz and M.V. Srinivasan (2005) Visual working memory in decision making by honeybees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 102, 5250-5255.

J. Tautz, S.W. Zhang, J. Spaethe, A. Brockmann, A. Si and M. Srinivasan (2004) Honeybee odometry: performance in varying natural terrain. PLOS Biology 2, 915-923.

J. Reinhard, M.V. Srinivasan and S.W. Zhang (2004) Scent-triggered navigation in honeybees. Nature 427, 411.

H. Esch, S.W. Zhang, M.V. Srinivasan and J. Tautz (2001) Honeybee dances communicate distances measured by optic flow. Nature 411, 581-583.

M. Giurfa, S.W. Zhang, A. Jenett, R. Menzel and M.V. Srinivasan (2001) The concepts of “sameness” and “difference” in an insect. Nature 410, 930-933.

M.V. Srinivasan, S.W. Zhang, M. Altwein and J. Tautz (2000) Honeybee navigation: nature and calibration of the ‘odometer’. Science 287, 851 – 853.

M.V Srinivasan, S.W. Zhang and H. Zhu (1998) Honeybees link sights to smells. Nature 396, 637-638.

From Living Eyes to Seeing Machines, M.V. Srinivasan and S. Venkatesh (eds), Oxford University Press, U.K. (1997).

M.V. Srinivasan, S.W. Zhang, M. Lehrer and T.S. Collett (1996) Honeybee navigation en route to the goal: visual flight control and odometry. Journal of Experimental Biology 199, 237-244.

M.V. Srinivasan, S.W. Zhang and B. Rolfe (1993) Pattern vision in insects: "cortical" processing? Nature 362, 539-540.

M. Lehrer, M.V. Srinivasan, S.W. Zhang and G.A. Horridge (1988) Motion cues provide the bee's visual world with a third dimension. Nature 332, 356-357.

M.V. Srinivasan, S.B. Laughlin and A. Dubs (1982) Predictive coding: a fresh view of inhibition in the retina. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 216, 427-459.