Hans Smid's research focuses on natural variation in learning and memory formation and on brain size plasticity in parasitic wasps
Natural variation in associative learning in parasitic wasp species: Tailor-made memory
Parasitic wasps lay their eggs into the eggs, larvae of pupae of other insects. They can use a variety of cues to forage for their hosts, and learn to remember cues that were experienced upon a host encounter, so called oviposition learning. For instance, wasps that parasitize caterpillars remember the odours of host plants where the caterpillars were feeding on. Considerable variation in learning and memory formation has been observed between different parasitic wasp species; some species learn slowly, whereas other, closely related species learn fast. These observations led to the concept of "tailor-made memory"; each species adapts its learning rate and memory formation to species-specific ecological parameters that determine factors such as the reliability and value of the reward. My aim is to find how the observed differences in (host) searching behaviour are reflected in differences at the central and peripheral nervous system. The research goes from behaviour to molecule, and combines neurobiology with evolutionary ecology. For my research, wasps are used mainly from the genera Cotesia, Nasonia and Trichogramma.
Associative learning of host presence in non-host environments influences parasitoid foraging
Ecological Entomology (2018). - ISSN 0307-6946
Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers
Nasonia Parasitic Wasps Escape from Haller's Rule by Diphasic, Partially Isometric Brain-Body Size Scaling and Selective Neuropil Adaptations
Brain, behavior and evolution 90 (2017)3. - ISSN 0006-8977 - p. 243 - 254.
Maximized complexity in miniaturized brains
Cell and Tissue Research 369 (2017)3. - ISSN 0302-766X - p. 477 - 496.
Effects of Isometric Brain-Body Size Scaling on the Complexity of Monoaminergic Neurons in a Minute Parasitic Wasp
Brain, behavior and evolution 89 (2017)3. - ISSN 0006-8977 - p. 185 - 194.
The complexity of learning, memory and neural processes in an evolutionary ecological context
Current Opinion in Insect Science 15 (2016). - ISSN 2214-5745 - p. 61 - 69.
How to escape from haller's rule
Journal of Comparative Neurology 524 (2016)9. - ISSN 0021-9967 - p. 1876 - 1891.
Baculovirus AcMNPV induces hypermobility in Spodoptera exigua larvae via invading the host central nervous system
Insects Can Count: Sensory Basis of Host Discrimination in Parasitoid Wasps Revealed
PLoS One 10 (2015)10. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 11 p.
Differentially expressed genes linked to natural variation in long-term memory formation in Cotesia parasitic wasps
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 9 (2015). - ISSN 1662-5153 - 17 p.