Take a small peek at the work currently done in the lab: Here is a clip of the tracked motion of cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus) wings during a rivalry song. The video was acquired at 1000 fps and slowed down to 3% speed. Up to 20 points were automatically tracked with a trained convoluted neural network (CNN). Labelling and training was done using DeepLabCut 2.3.4.
Today, twenty mini-scientists from a school in Graz came to visit our lab during the program „Kinderuni“, where children can have a first peak at what the University of Graz is working on. During the two hours, we explored how our muscels generate force, and how to use this force to control a plastic prosthetic and even other limbs! Of course, we also took a small glimpse at our amazing fish facilities! 🔬🧠🐟
We are incredibly happy to give a warm welcome to our newest lab-member, Harald. Harald has become our new workshop manager, but he is so much more than that. His invaluable contributions to the lab have already made a huge impact on our daily work and will continue to do so in the future. His innovative and creative mind and seemingly endless technical abilities will without doubt push the boundaries of our research!
„It is my goal to support the research and development of the lab with my innovative technichal solutions.“Harald Pascher – workshop manager
The rattlesnake strikes again! Last year’s paper published in Current Biology once again sparked interest in the science world. Since computational analysis was done using MATLAB, the snakes were additionally featured in an article by MathWorks. Take a look!
📄Find the complete article here: https://de.mathworks.com/company/mathworks-stories/vr-decodes-rattlesnakes-auditory-communication.html
📄Find the original paper here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.07.018
We welcome PhD candidate Jan Wille to our lab team! Jan will be joining PI Thorin Jonsson in a fascinating project, investigating Orthopteran wings and bioacoustics. We are very happy to have Jan join our team and wish him all the best for this exciting time!
We are incredibly happy to announce the latest member of our lab – our new microscope🔬! The past few days have been swamped with a lot of exploring and imaging and we are super excited!
Here, have a look at a beautiful staining by our PhD candidate Daniel, showing calretinin-immunoreactive neurons in Synodontis grandiops.
Our painted gobies have successfully reproduced! Take a sneak peek👀 at some tiny gobies about to hatch:
We are very happy for our post-doc, Maximilian Bothe, who was awarded one of the prestigious NAWI Graz travel awards for postdoctoral fellows. He will visit Cornell University to investigate neuronal networks of mudskippers. Congratulations!
Our study on how the rattlesnake acoustic display fools humans into believing they are closer to the snake than they really are made it to the quiz show “Wer weiss den sowas?” on german television!
The episode is not online, but you can see a video feature explain the answer to the question here (only in german):
During the last week before the holidays, about twenty curious minds from the primary school VS St Veit paid a one-day visit to the neurons and behavior lab. As the potential future scientists investigated their maximum muscle force, they learned about different factors that can affect this force, controlled each other’s hands with their minds and discovered the great diversity of animals in our fish facilities. What a nice way to end a lab year! 🎇
Oktober | November 2021
And it’s a wrap! The last two weeks were all about teaching. 13 students participated in our brand new lab course “from neurons to behavior”. Each week, three groups of two to three students were working on mini-projects that revolved around the remarkable nervous system of the leech. For a proper introduction, students had a short brush with the literature of their respective mini-projects. During this truly all-round course, students were introduced to a leech preparation, were able to do double recordings from two neighboring Retzius cells, conducted potassium channel pharmacology and performed intracellular fillings with neurobiotin, developed with a streptavidin reaction.Students analyzed their recorded data and embedded it into the scientific background of the mini-project fields. Every project week was successfully rounded off with a presentation of the project results and possible interpretations, which left room for an open and interactive discussion. Here is a slideshow with some pictures giving a sneak peek of the neurons labelled these two great weeks (more impressions coming soon…)
Is the rattlesnake rattling a simple notification of a snake’s presence or is it an elegant interspecies communication system that fools the auditory perception?
Find out in our new study using looming stimuli and acoustical psychophysics in combination with virtual reality, which was published in Current Biology. The press really liked that one! Check out our video abstract in the media section.
📄Find the complete paper here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.07.018
Piranhas produce acoustic social communication signals (sounds) with a muscle attached to the swim bladder.
We investigated the activity pattern of the spinal circuit controlling this acoustic communication system and compared it to the locomotor patterns recorded at the same spinal level. If you want to know more about the evolution of sonic systems from locomotor systems read our new paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
📄Find the complete paper here: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.242336
What are the similarities between vocal and electric behavior in fishes?
Find out in our review in Frontiers in Neural Circuits.
In a collaboration with colleagues from three different US universities, we published a review compiling some of the ground-breaking papers of the last 15 years, dealing with the study of vocal and electric fish with a special emphasis on how neural modulators can modify and control behavior.
If you want to find out more on how these modulators influence fish behavior, have a look at the review in the link below.
📄Find the complete paper here: https://doi.org/10.3389/fncir.2021.713105
How do glycine and gap junctions contribute to call precision – find out in our new paper in eLife
In this paper we show that gap junctional coupling is necessary to activate a subset of glycinergic neurons in the toadfish vocal system. These neurons are essential for the high levels of synchrony needed in this system.
📄Find the complete paper here: https://elifesciences.org/articles/59390
How do you deal with dangerous prey – learn a lesson from texas horned lizards
In a collaboration with US and german scientists we investigated how texas horned lizards prevent beeing biten or stung by the dangerous harvester ants. Check out the videos on the video page.
Avoiding being stung or bitten – prey capture behaviors of the ant-eating Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum).Biol Open (2021) 10 (3): bio058453.
📄Find the complete paper here: https://doi.org/10.1242/bio.058453
What happens if you use an existing neural network for a novel behavior? Find out in our new catfish collaborative study
In this study we investigated how different mochokid catfishes adapted their neural and peripheral components to produce different behaviors (sonic and electric signalling). The similarity of these neural networks shows how few changes can change the communication of these fishes.
Morphological diversity of acoustic and electric communication systems of mochokid catfish im Journal of Comparative neurology.
📄Find the complete paper here: https://doi.org/10.1002/cne.25057
To what extent do modifications in the nervous system and peripheral effectors contribute to novel behaviors?
In collaboration with scientists at Cornell University and the University of Liège, we investigated this question in fishes that transitioned from acoustic to electrical communication.
📄Find the complete paper here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cne.24920
How does Serotonin distribution differ in different fishes – find out in our new paper
Serotonin is a major player in modulating behavioral patterns. In this paper we explore the distribution of serotonergic cells in the brains of three socially communicating fishes.
📄Find the complete paper here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jchemneu.2019.101708