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Calcium Imaging of Auditory Organ Activity in Insects

Calcium Imaging of Auditory Organ Activity in Insects

Supervisor: Dr Berthold Hedwig

Project summary:

We recently developed a new method to inject Ca-sensitive tracers into the peripheral nervous system of insects. This methods will be refined and used to load the peripheral hearing organ and the central axonal projections of auditory afferents in insects with a hearing organ like bush-crickets, crickets, moths or grasshoppers. After labelling the auditory pathway, the insect will be placed under an optical imaging system and sound stimuli will be used to explore the representation of acoustic signals (intensity, frequency) in the hearing organ and in the central auditory neuropils by measuring the sound evoked changes in the optical Ca2+ signals.

What the student will be doing:

The student will learn dissection techniques and electrophoretic dye loading to fill the auditory organ afferents with a calcium sensitive tracers. Using the optical imaging system will be central to the experiments. A quantitative analysis of video data together with the sound stimuli presented will demonstrate the responses within the auditory afferents.


Pulver SR, Bayley TG, Taylor AL, Berni J, Bate M, Hedwig B (2015) Imaging fictive locomotor patterns in larval Drosphila. J Neurophysiology, /2015/08/21/jn.00731.2015

Baden, T and Hedwig B (2007). Neurite specific Ca2+ dynamics underlying sound processing in an auditory interneurone. J Neurobiol 67: 68-80.

Baden T and Hedwig B (2010) Primary afferent depolarisation and frequency processing in auditory afferents. J Neurosci, 30:14862–14869