Presentation Type

Poster - Campus Access Only

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Nathan Insel

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Neuroscience

Abstract / Artist's Statement

A Behavioral Assessment of Degus in a Neuronal Electrophysiological Recording Experiment

Life Sciences

Christian Newby, Patrick Hanni, Nathan Insel

Abstract

Pheromones are a primary means by which many species recognize one-another and make inferences about one-another's state. Many vertebrate species, including most rodents, detect the pheromones of other members of their species through anogenital sniffing. Previous work has found that anogenital sniffing is increased between strangers, emphasizing its importance for how animals learn about one-another. As part of a study on how a particular brain region called the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) processes social information in our experimental species, we repeatedly exposed a "focal" Octodon degu (implanted with an electrode recording headpiece) to multiple "stimulus" conspecifics each day over many days. The focal degu was single-housed, but presented with many brief social encounters with both new and familiar individuals each day. Stimulus degus were co-housed, and exposed to very few other novel social encounters day-to-day. Using BORIS, an ethogram scoring software, we observed that degus initiated fewer interactions than the focal degus, with the proportion of rear-sniffs differentially reduced. The difference in anogenital investigation may be due to less comfort in the stimulus degus when interacting with an "unfamiliar" (implanted) degu; however, the patterns could also be related to the different social experiences of the degus, with the focal degu frequently required to identify and discriminate between other individuals. This work will help guide analyses of neural patterns recorded during social behavior in degus, while also revealing that levels of rear-sniffing may be dependent on an animal's social experiences or comfort levels.

Keywords: action potential, greeting, tetrode, identification, correlates

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 22nd, 11:00 AM Apr 22nd, 12:00 PM

Behavioral Assessment of Degus in a Neuronal Electrophysiological Recording Experiment

UC South Ballroom

A Behavioral Assessment of Degus in a Neuronal Electrophysiological Recording Experiment

Life Sciences

Christian Newby, Patrick Hanni, Nathan Insel

Abstract

Pheromones are a primary means by which many species recognize one-another and make inferences about one-another's state. Many vertebrate species, including most rodents, detect the pheromones of other members of their species through anogenital sniffing. Previous work has found that anogenital sniffing is increased between strangers, emphasizing its importance for how animals learn about one-another. As part of a study on how a particular brain region called the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) processes social information in our experimental species, we repeatedly exposed a "focal" Octodon degu (implanted with an electrode recording headpiece) to multiple "stimulus" conspecifics each day over many days. The focal degu was single-housed, but presented with many brief social encounters with both new and familiar individuals each day. Stimulus degus were co-housed, and exposed to very few other novel social encounters day-to-day. Using BORIS, an ethogram scoring software, we observed that degus initiated fewer interactions than the focal degus, with the proportion of rear-sniffs differentially reduced. The difference in anogenital investigation may be due to less comfort in the stimulus degus when interacting with an "unfamiliar" (implanted) degu; however, the patterns could also be related to the different social experiences of the degus, with the focal degu frequently required to identify and discriminate between other individuals. This work will help guide analyses of neural patterns recorded during social behavior in degus, while also revealing that levels of rear-sniffing may be dependent on an animal's social experiences or comfort levels.

Keywords: action potential, greeting, tetrode, identification, correlates