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Multisensory integration in the perception of moving or vibrating objects

All fishes have a wealth of senses involved in the detection of vibrating objects. These include hearing and related senses, and the less-commonly known lateral line system. Each of these senses is responsive to different aspects of the physical disturbances caused by vibratory motion. Do these multiple senses each contribute to different behaviors, or only in certain contexts? Or does each modality make a partial contribution to a single percept of an object with multiple properties? See Details >>

Evolution of communication systems in South American Electric Fishes

A large group of South American fishes, the Gymnotiformes, have the unusual ability to both produce and sense very weak electric fields. They use this ability to detect the tiny currents produced by their prey or other animals, and they use this sense to form an electric image of their surroundings (like a kind of radar). Interestingly, these fish also use this ability to communicate with each other by sending tiny pulses in specific patterns. The pattern of pulse spacing seems to be particularly important for communication, but less is known of the significance of pulse structure. See Details >>

The evolution of hearing in Malagasy-South Asian Cichlids

Within the teleosts, we have shown that specialized morphologies have arisen at least a dozen times independently (Braun and Grande 2008).  Each of these instances is a natural experiment in the evolution of hearing, allowing us to ask the following questions: Why did those species evolve high performance hearing?  What ecologies are correlated with advanced hearing? How do specialized morphologies improve hearing performance and in what specific ways? See Details>>

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