Odor-Guided Navigation

Fruit Fly "Surge" Upwind

The ability to track odor plumes to their source (food, mate, etc.) is key to the survival of many insects. During this odor-guided navigation, flapping wings could actively draw odorants to the antennae to enhance olfactory sensitivity, but it is unclear if improving olfactory function comes at a cost to aerodynamic performance. Here, we computationally quantify both aerodynamic and olfactory functions in forward flight.


Wake Structure


Odor Concentration Field

  1. Chengyu Li, Haibo Dong, and Kai Zhao, "A balance between aerodynamic and olfactory performance during flight in Drosophila," Nature Communications 9, 3215 (2018). [Link]

  2. Chengyu Li, "Effect of wing pitch kinematics on both aerodynamic and olfactory functions in an upwind surge," Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, in press (2020). [Link]​

  3. Menglong Lei and Chengyu Li, “Numerical investigation of passive pitching mechanism in odor-tracking flights,” AIAA Aviation, Reno, Nevada, June 2020. [Link]​