Exploring the fine details of multi-modal integration
Understanding how information from multiple modalities might be integrated during spatial behaviour is a difficult theoretical question which has been hard to address with behavioural experiments. However, studies with Drosophila have allowed a bottom-up approach to investigations of multi-modal orientational (but not yet navigational) behaviour. In a thorough(ly impressive) set of experiments Chow et al have de-constructed the interaction between olfaction and vision, whereby during odour plume tracking flies show enhanced visual stability reflexes. In a tethered flight assay they were able to look at the low-level flight control parameters and then with ablation studies, they were able to demonstrate a key role for the Mushroom Bodies in this, memory independent, multi-modal interaction.
Chow DM, Theobald JC, Frye MA (2011) An olfactory circuit increases the fidelity of visual behavior J Neurosci 31:15035-15047