Sense and sensibility: multisensory object recognition in weakly electric fish
Animals’ behaviour relies on input from a multitude of different sensory systems. The information obtained (input) is translated into behavioural activity (output) by the central nervous system. Given the specific parameters under which a sensory system operates, different information is typically obtained from each. A major question is whether the way that information is sensed (sensory input) affects how it is stored in memory and ultimately used (behavioural output). This project aims to answer this fundamental question by using the weakly electric fish (Gnathonemeus petersii). This fish can gather high-resolution information on local objects using four sensory systems: (1) passive electrolocation; (2) active electrolocation; (3) the mechanosensory lateral line; (4) vision. The student will use an integrative approach of behavioural and neuroethological techniques (in collaboration with Gerhard von der Emde, University of Bonn), to explore the links between perception and cognition from brain to behaviour.
This project would suit a student with an interest in animal behaviour and/or neuroethology.
Funding is competitive, via either University/Departmental Studentships or Doctoral Training Centres (http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/graduates/applying).
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