Tue, 28.10.2014: “Drosophila courtship song: modeling behavioral pattern in terms of neural and muscle dynamics”

We are happy to invite everybody to:

Birgit Brüggemeier (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford):

“Drosophila courtship song: modeling behavioral  pattern in terms of neural and muscle dynamics”

Location: Arnimallee 6, seminar room 031
Time: Tuesday, 28.10.2014, 14:00
Specials: Coffee and Cookies!

Males of the species Drosophila melanogaster – the common fruit fly – court their females. During courtship the male extends and vibrates his wing and thereby produces courtship song, which consists of two qualitatively different modes: sine and pulse song. During song, males repeatedly switch between sine and pulse. Recent studies suggest that the male switches not randomly, but chooses whether to sing sine or pulse depending on sensory input – this is despite courtship song being innate and hard-wired. Besides sensory inputs, muscle contraction is known to determine song mode and song features. I have designed simple neuromuscular models of courtship song, that allow one to study (1) the effect of neuronal frequency on song and (2) the effect of muscle contraction dynamics on song, and (3) to simulate natural looking courtship song. I have started to validate my models and simulations. My simulations excite male wild-type flies, when played back to them. Song playback is a well established paradigm to study hearing in flies and the excitatory potential of song. Further my simulations show and reproduce the link between excitation and song choice their design was based on.  I expect simulated song from my models to match song parameters of real song. For matching real and simulated song I apply Approximate-Bayesian-Computation (ABC) with Sequential-Monte-Carlo (SMC) sampling to my models. 

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Tim Landgraf