Schneider, Anna Caren (2017). Encoding of Coordinating Information in a Network of Coupled Oscillators. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.


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Animal locomotion is driven by cyclic movements of the body or body appendages. These movements are under the control of neural networks that are driven by central pattern generators (CPG). In order to produce meaningful behavior, CPGs need to be coordinated. The crayfish swimmeret system is a model to investigate the coordination of distributed CPGs. Swimmerets are four pairs of limbs on the animal’s abdomen, which move in cycles of alternating power-strokes and return-strokes. The swimmeret pairs are coordinated in a metachronal wave from posterior to anterior with a phase lag of approximately 25% between segments. Each swimmeret is controlled by its own neural microcircuit, located in the body segment’s hemiganglion. Three neurons per hemiganglion are necessary and sufficient for the 25% phase lag. ASCE DSC encode information about their home ganglion’s activity state and send it to their anterior or posterior target ganglia, respectively. ComInt 1, which is electrically coupled to the CPG, receives the coordinating information. The isolated abdominal ganglia chain reliably produces fictive swimming. Motor burst strength is encoded by the number of spikes per ASCE and DSC burst. If motor burst strength varies spontaneously, the coordinating neurons track these changes linearly. The neurons are hypothesized to adapt their spiking range to the occurring motor burst strengths. One aim of this study was to investigate the putative adaptive encoding of the coordinating neurons in electrophysiological experiments. This revealed that the system’s excitation level influenced both the whole system and the individual coordinating neurons. These mechanisms allowed the coordinating neurons to adapt to the range of burst strengths at any given excitation level by encoding relative burst strengths. The second aim was to identify the transmitters of the coordinating neurons at the synapse to ComInt 1. Immunohistochemical experiments demonstrated that coordinating neurons were not co-localized with serotonin-immunoreactive positive neurons. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry suggested acetylcholine as presumable transmitter.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Schneider, Anna Carena-c.schneider@uni-koeln.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-75929
Date: May 2017
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences > Department of Biology > Zoologisches Institut
Subjects: Natural sciences and mathematics
Life sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Central Pattern GeneratorEnglish
Date of oral exam: 3 May 2017
NameAcademic Title
Wellmann, CarmenDr.
Büschges, AnsgarProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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