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Prof. Yossi Yovel

מחלקה לזואולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Yossi Yovel
Phone: 03-6407304
Another phone: 03-6409397
Fax: 03-6409057


Yossi Yovel is a senior lecturer in the Department of Zoology since 2011.  He was trained as an undergrad in physics and biology at Tel-Aviv University. He received a masters in Neurobiology from Tel-Aviv University and a PhD in biology from Tuebingen University in Germany. 





Post-doctoral fellow; Department of Physics, The University of Chicago

2008-2010 Post-doctoral fellow; Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science
2006-2008 Ph.D.; Biology Department of Animal Physiology and the Max Planck institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen University
2005-2006 M.Sc.; Neurobiology, Tel Aviv University
2001-2005 B.Sc.;  Biology and Physics, Tel Aviv University


Academic Appointments:

2011-present Assistant Professor, Tel Aviv University


Research Interests

What is NeuroEcology?
Ecologists study the behavioral interactions between animals and their environments. Neuroscientists study how the brain shapes animal behavior. Although these two disciplines focus on two sides of the same coin, behavior, information flow between them is limited, thus restricting our knowledge of how neural mechanisms discovered in sterile laboratory conditions relate to the natural behavior of animals in the wild. We aim to address this gap by simulating the natural environment in the lab and by using miniature technologies that enable us to conduct controlled experiments with animals in the wild. We are interested in a wide range of fundamental behaviors including long and short-range navigation, social networks and collective behavior, sensory decision making, inter-sensory integration, and vocal communication, as well as bio-sonar and bio-inspired robotics.


Why Bats?
There are more than 1200 species of bats, each of which offers unique opportunities for studying fundamental behaviors driven by different and specific neural processes such as spatial navigation, sensory perception, social behavior, and decision making. Unlike other mammalian models, bats use echolocation (bio-sonar), a 6'th sense that allows us to (acoustically) record them in the field and infer their behavior, a task that is almost impossible with other mammals. The bat mammalian brain shares many similarities with the human brain.


How we do it
We have developed miniature sensors that can be mounted onto bats in the wild. These sensors include GPS, audio, video, acceleration, EEG (brain waves) and other analogue sensors that measure physiology (e.g., heart rate) or environmental cues (e.g., ambient light), enabling us to sense the world from the bat's point of view. In the laboratory, we use ultrasonic microphone arrays synchronized to high speed video tracking for monitoring the precise sensory behavior of the bat as it is performing a wide repertoire of tasks.


Recent Publications


S. Danilovich, A. Krishnan, W. J. Lee, I. Borrisov, O. Eitan, G. Kosa, C. F. Moss,  Y. Yovel (2015) Bats regulate biosonar based on the availability of visual information Current Biology (in press)


Geva-Sagiv M, Yovel Y, Las L & Ulanovsky N (2015) Spatial cognition in bats and rats: from sensory acquisition to multiscale maps and navigation, Nature Rev. Neurosci. 16, 94-108  


G. Arditi, A. J. Weiss, Y. Yovel (2015) Object localization using a biosonar beam: how opening your mouth improves localization, R. Soc. open sci.  2 150225  


P. Kounitsky, J. Rydell, E. Amichai, A. Boonman, O. Eitan, A. J. Weiss,  Y. Yovel (2015) Bats adjust their mouth gape to zoom in their biosonar ‘field of view’ Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 112 (21), 6724-6729 


Y. Prat, M. Taub, Y. Yovel (2015) Vocal learning in a social mammal demonstrated by isolation and playback experiments in bat. Science Adv. 1(2) e1500019


 N. S. Bar, S. Skogestad, J. M. Marçal, N. Ulanovsky & Y. Yovel, (2015) A sensory-motor Control model of animal flight explains why bats fly differently in light versus dark. PLoS Biology,  


N. Cvikel, E. Levin, E. Hurme, I. Borissov, A. Boonman, E. Amichai, & Y. Yovel,  (2015) On-board recordings reveal no jamming avoidance in wild bat.  Proc. R. Soc. B. 


N. Cvikel, K. E. Berg, E. Levin, E. Hurme, I. Borissov, A. Boonman, E. Amichai, & Y. Yovel, (2015) Bats aggregate to improve prey search but might be impaired when their density becomes too high. Current Biology, 24: 2962-2967 


A. Boonman, S. Bumrungsri, Y. Yovel, (2014) Non-echolocating fruit-bats produce bio-sonar clicks with their wings. Current Biology, 24(24):2962-7 


Greif S, Borissov I, Yovel Y, Holland RA (2014) A functional role of the sky's polarization pattern for orientation in the greater mouse-eared bat. Nat. Commun.5:4488. 


A. Boonman, Y. Bar-On, Y. Yovel, (2013) It’s not black or white – on the range of vision an echolocation in echolocating bats, Front. Physiol. 2: 248. 


Y. Yovel, B. Falk, C. F. Moss, N. Ulanovsky, (2011) Active control of acoustic field-of-view in a biosonar system, PLoS Biology, 9(9): e1001147.


M. Franz Y. Yovel, M. L. Melcón, P. Stilz, H-U. Schnitzler (2011) Systematische Merkmalsbewertung in komplexen Ultraschallsignalen mit LernmaschinenInformatik-Spektrum 1-6. 


Y. Yovel, M. Geva, N. Ulanovsky, (2011) Click based echolocation: not so primitive after all, J. Comp. Physiol. J. Comp. Physiol. 197: 515-530. 


Y. Yovel, M. Franz, P. Stilz, H-U. Schnitzler, (2011) Complex echo classification by echo-locating bats: a review, J. Comp. Physiol. 197: 475-490. 


M.L. Melcon, Y. Yovel, (equal contribution), A. Denzinger, H-U Schnitzler, (2011) How greater mouse-eared bats deal with ambiguous echoic scences. J. Comp. Physiol. 197: 505-514. 


Y. Yovel, WWL. Au (2010) How Can Dolphins Recognize Fish According to Their Echoes? A Statistical Analysis of Fish Echoes. PLoS ONE 5(11): e14054. 


Y. Yovel, B. Falk, C. F. Moss, N. Ulanovsky, (2010) Optimal localization by pointing off-axis. Science 327, 701-704. 


Y. Yovel, M.L. Melcon (equal contribution), M.O. Franz, A. Denzinger, H-U Schnitzler, (2009) The voice of bats: how greater mouse-eared bats recognize individuals based on their echolocation calls. PLoS Comput Biol 4(3): e1000400. 


Y. Yovel, P. Stilz, M.O. Franz, A. Boonman,H-U Schnitzler, (2009) What a plant sounds like: the statistics of vegetation echoes as received by echolocating bats. PLoS Comput Biol 5(7): e1000429. 


A. Mezer, Y. Yovel, O. Pasternak, T. Gorfine, Y. Assaf, (2009) Cluster analysis of resting-state fMRI time series. Neuroimage 45(4), 1117-1125. 


Y. Yovel, M. O. Franz, P. Stilz, H-U. Schnitzler (2008) Plant Classification from Bat-Like Echolocation Signals. PLoS Comput Biol 4(3): e1000032. 


Y. Assaf, T. Blumenfeld-Katzir, Y. Yovel, P. J. Basser (2008) AxCaliber: a method for measuring axon diameter distribution from diffusion MRI. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 59, 1347–1354. 


Y. Yovel and Y. Assaf (2007) Virtual Definition of Neuronal Tissue by Cluster Analysis of Multi-parametric Imaging (virtual-dot-com imaging). NeuroImage 35(1), 58–69. 


E. Levin, A. Barnea, Y. Yovel and Y. Yom-Tov (2006) Have introduced fish initiated piscivory among the long-fingered bat? Mamm Biol 71, 139–143.

       Peer-reviewed conference articles


B. Petreska, and Y. Yovel (2008) A Neural Model of Demyelination of the Mouse Spinal Cord. In Proceedings of IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI2008). Won the award for best student work


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